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Teachers union and state near agreement on evaluations

October 5, 2010

State education officials and teachers’ union officials say they are close to agreement on teacher evaluations that include student test scores. Marcia Reback of the Rhode Island Federation of Teachers says her union will collaborate with the state to create a model system for school districts, who must adopt tougher annual teacher evaluations by 2012.

“We’re hoping that this evaluation system will really be able to address those individuals who do not belong in the profession,” Reback said. “But what it is really about is a support system for teachers so that teachers who are excellent can continue to be excellent and teachers who are ineffective can bring up student learning.”

The Rhode Island Federation of Teachers has received several grants, including a $5 million federal innovation grant shared with New York teachers and a $200,000 matching grant from the Rhode Island Foundation, to develop the evaluations.

The state’s second teachers’ union, The National Education Association of Rhode Island, says their members still have concerns about the use of test scores in teacher evaluations.

“If they can create a model that improves public education and is fair for practitioners, have at it,” said NEARI President Bob Walsh. “But we are still incredulous about this as a practical matter.”

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