PSEA commends state senator for passing evaluation reform bill

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PSEA commends state senator for passing evaluation reform bill

For further information contact:
Chris Lilienthal (717) 255-7134
David Broderic (717) 255-7169

HARRISBURG, PA (June 24, 2019) - PSEA President Rich Askey issued the following statement after the state Senate passed Senate Bill 751 today, legislation sponsored by Sen. Ryan Aument (R-Lancaster) to reform Pennsylvania’s educator evaluation system by placing greater emphasis on direct classroom observation, reducing the impact of student performance measures, including standardized testing, and accounting for the effects of poverty on student achievement.

The Senate passed the bill by a vote of 38-11. It now goes to the House of Representatives.

“This is a major reform of the educator evaluation system,” Askey said. “PSEA strongly supports this bill, we commend Sen. Aument’s leadership on this issue, and we’re grateful for the Senate’s support. We’re very hopeful that this bill will become law, and improve the evaluation system for every educator in Pennsylvania.”

Senate Bill 751 and House Bill 1607, a companion bill introduced by Rep. Jesse Topper, increase the emphasis on direct classroom observation and practice from 50 percent to 70 percent of most educators’ evaluations. The remaining 30 percent relies on building-level and teacher-specific student achievement data, including student performance on standardized testing. The building-level data also will be adjusted by a measure of poverty for each individual school building. The teacher-specific student achievement data will include student performance measures that relate directly to an educator’s practice each academic year.

“PSEA supports meaningful educator evaluations because every student in Pennsylvania deserves to have a high-quality educator in the classroom,” Askey said. “This bill represents exactly that. Sen. Aument and Rep. Topper listened to educators and worked toward a more accurate and fairer evaluation system that works better for students and educators alike.

“It will reform the evaluation system by placing greater emphasis on the direct observation of an educator’s professional practice, reducing the impact of student standardized testing, and beginning to account for the effects of poverty on student achievement.

“The direct observation of educators by trained professionals is the best form of evaluation, providing clear, fair, and timely feedback. By placing greater emphasis on direct observation, this bill sets the stage for educators to receive meaningful feedback and targeted assistance that will help them improve their professional practice.”

Askey is a Harrisburg music teacher and the president of PSEA. An affiliate of the National Education Association, PSEA represents about 181,000 active and retired educators and school employees, student teachers, higher education staff, and health care workers in Pennsylvania.