Posts Tagged ‘LD 1858’


The Importance of Student Voices

November 14, 2012

Do you hear what I hear?

When I was teaching I finished each term with students filling out a self-evaluation where they reflected on themselves as learners and even suggested a “final grade” for themselves. I learned a great deal from their comments and perceptions. It provided me with a sort of test on how well I knew my students as they viewed themselves.

At the same time they completed a “teacher evaluation” where they provided me with feedback on how I did as a teacher in several categories from knowledge of content to how well I delivered the concepts to fairness and communication. Of course, they had the chance to give me a “final grade” as well. I promised them that I would not look at them until after I had completed their grades so I would not in any way allow myself to be influenced. I loved doing this at the end of the year because I would take that pile of 100 or 200 teacher evaluations to the beach and smile, laugh, and most often learn from their comments.

Here we are in this era of teacher evaluations transforming and in many states teachers are being viewed through the test scores of their students. Have you given this any thought? I have mentioned Legislative Document (LD) 1858 in an earlier post which is called An Act to Insure Effective Teaching and School Leadership. This law

  • Requires school administrative units to develop and implement a performance evaluation and professional growth systems for teachers and principals.
  • Sets forth standards that must be met by these systems, including a requirement that multiple measures of effectiveness must be used in evaluations, including student learning measures, that evaluators must be properly trained and that a system must include a process for using information from the evaluation process to inform professional development.

To read the entire law (LD 1858) Public Law Chapter 635 please click here and scroll down to the bottom of the page for the ENACTED law dated April 5, 2012.

In a recent blog post on Public Engagement and Ed Reform blog writer Stu Silberman shares ideas on students providing feedback and the notion that students should perhaps grade their teachers. Using test scores to determine how well a teacher is doing, but what can students tell us? I know from experience that students can tell us a great deal. After all, aren’t they the ones who really know best especially as they grow and change and learn? I suggest you check out his blog post since it includes food for thought as well as links to others ideas.

More than anything, I hope that you are well informed and consider being on your districts team or committee when it is formed to help tackle this issue.


Department News Release

March 21, 2012

Bowen lauds Ed Committee vote on teacher effectiveness

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Contact:   David Connerty-Marin, 207-624-6880/831-3313

The Legislature’s Education Committee voted unanimously Wednesday afternoon in favor of LD 1858, a bill that would require schools to adopt teacher and principal evaluation systems.

“Of all the education bills this session, this one has the potential to positively impact education more than any other,” Bowen said. “The bill goes to the very heart of what we know has the greatest impact on learning: the effectiveness of teachers and school leaders. The best curriculum and learning materials in the world are of no use to us unless we have effective educators in our schools. Supporting great teaching and school leadership is what this bill is all about.”

The Education Committee has supported efforts to promote improved standards for students and now follows suit with clearer standards for teachers. The Maine Department of Education will work with many groups to develop guidelines and standards for evaluation systems, but the systems themselves will be developed or adopted at the local level.

“I appreciate the give and take with the Maine Education Association and legislators,” Bowen said. “It made this bill better by underscoring its true purpose – to improve the ways in which we prepare, support, and evaluate teachers.”

The committee approved LD 1865, which enhances career and technical education, by a 10-1 vote earlier this week. Both bills are part of Gov. Paul LePage’s education agenda and will likely go before the full Legislature in the next week or two.

Two more bills are part of the Administration’s agenda. One deals with public and private school choice options, the other with allowing funding for religious schools.  Those measures will be discussed by the committee on Thursday.

Information about all four bills, including links to the bill language and the commissioner’s testimony, can be found online at


News Release

March 18, 2012

Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Contact:   David Connerty-Marin, 207-624-6880/831-3313

Bowen testifies for educator effectiveness bill
AUGUSTA – Education Commissioner Stephen Bowen made the case today before the Legislature’s Education Committee for legislation to improve and support teacher development and evaluation.

LD 1858, An Act To Ensure Effective Teaching and School Leadership, focuses on teacher and principal evaluation and professional development. It would set standards for evaluation systems that would then be developed locally. It also allows the Department to collect and report data about teacher and principal preparation programs, as well as provide alternative pathways for experienced professionals to become teachers.

The legislation is the second of four bills that are part of Gov. Paul R. LePage’s education agenda to be heard by the committee. The first, heard Tuesday, addressed enhancements to career and technical education. The remaining two will be heard Thursday and include proposals to increase school choice options for families and students. The package of legislation was first announced in early February.

“No other bill you’ve heard has the potential to effectively impact education in Maine in the way that this bill does,” Bowen told committee members. “I say this because this bill goes to the very heart of what we know has the greatest impact on learning: the effectiveness of teachers and school leaders.”

Consistent with the ESEA flexibility package put forward by the U.S. Department of Education, the bill would require school districts to develop or adopt and then implement teacher and principal evaluation systems consistent with criteria to be established by the Department through rulemaking.

The Department would begin working with stakeholders to develop guidelines this year, with the goal of having final rules adopted a year from now. Districts would develop or adopt evaluation systems during the 2013-2014 school year, pilot them during the 2014-2015 school year, and fully implement them during the 2015-2016 school year at the latest.
These systems would require: use of multiple measures of effectiveness, including student achievement and growth as a significant factor; that evaluations be conducted regularly; and that evaluations provide specific, timely and relevant feedback to teachers and principals that would be used to direct and support professional growth.

Bowen addressed directly concerns about the bill, saying that while some portray the legislation as a way to remove teachers, its real purpose is to help all teachers and principals improve.

“As someone who was evaluated a number of times over the course of my teaching career, I can tell you that the vast majority of those evaluations, though generally well-intended, did very little to help me get better,” Bowen said.

He noted that in meetings with the Maine Education Association, officials there told him that the teachers they represent sometimes go years without any kind of evaluation, and are sometimes subject to perfunctory evaluations.

“Teachers and school leaders want to be evaluated and want to be given feedback that helps them improve their practice,” he said. “This legislation requires that.”
Bowen said the legislation is in line with the strategic plan he unveiled in January, which “puts the student at the center of all our efforts…It is the teaching and learning that goes on in our classrooms, we argued, that should be our core area of focus.  None of that teaching and learning happens, though, unless we also pay attention to the second focus area, great teachers and leaders.  The best curriculum and learning materials in the world are of no use to us unless we have effective educators in our schools.  Supporting great teaching and school leadership is what this bill is all about.”

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