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Schwarzenegger Lifts Ban On Measuring Teachers From Test Scores

Audio

Aired 10/13/09

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a bill Sunday that lifts a restriction on using student test scores to evaluate teachers. The change comes as California tries to compete for special federal education dollars. The federal government will award states money if they tackle tough reforms.

— Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a bill Sunday that lifts a restriction on using student test scores to evaluate teachers. The change comes as California tries to compete for special federal education dollars. The federal government will award states money if they tackle tough reforms.

San Diego County Schools Superintendent Randy Ward supports using student achievement test scores in evaluating teacher performance. He says teachers need to be held accountable.

“There's no place for anonymity in the classroom,” Ward said. “We need to look at what is our response to those (teachers) who are more successful and what is our response to those who are less successful.”

But critics say the policy is unfair because student performance is influenced by many other factors beyond a teacher’s control.

Jim Groth is a local representative for the California Teachers Association. He says changing state education laws is shortsighted because the federal program is still evolving.

“We're in the process, 'we' being the State of California, of changing rules for a program that we still don't understand what all the final rules will be to qualify for the program,” Groth said.

The governor is now pushing for other education reforms in order to qualify for the federal pot of money. Those reforms include giving districts the power to shut down failing schools, as well as repealing California’s charter school cap to allow for the creation of more charter schools.

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