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Geoff Decker

New evaluation rules win final approval, with some Regents still opposed

The Board of Regents officially approved updated teacher evaluation regulations that they debated at length Monday, dividing the policymakers.

The approved regulations allow school districts to create plans that give state tests and locally selected tests equal weight in a teacher’s final rating. The state had proposed offering the “50-50” option only for districts considered to have high-quality local assessments available. The Regents extended that option to all districts in response to concerns that the state’s tests would otherwise factor too heavily into evaluations.

In an unusual move, Regent Judith Johnson asked for a separate vote on the evaluation regulations on Tuesday, allowing the six members who voted against the regulations at Monday’s meeting to do so again. The separate vote reflected some Regents’ hardened opposition to the state’s new evaluation law, which was passed during state budget negotiations earlier this year. Regents typically end their monthly meetings by voting on packages of policies and regulations all at once.

An agreement to give eligible districts more time to develop and submit their new evaluation plans also came out of Monday’s meeting. The law, passed earlier this year, required that districts have plans in place by Nov. 15, but the Regents told state officials to develop waivers that would allow districts to delay introducing a new system until 2016-17.

The evaluation law itself could face more changes before the legislative session ends. Both the Assembly and the Senate have passed bills that would amend the law to delay the deadlines for districts.