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Teacher Evaluations Could Change With New Bill

A state Senate committee heard a bill that would change the way some teachers are evaluated Wednesday and the backdrop was the week-long teachers’ protest at the Capitol.

The measure by Republican Senator Bob Huff would allow school districts to base layoff decisions on teacher performance. Currently, layoffs are based on seniority.

“We should not have a quality-blind approach to those who are teaching our kids,” Huff said. “We are continuing to mess up another generation.”

He said it’s too difficult and costly to fire a bad teacher. Listening to his remarks were approximately 48 educators who testified against the bill, including Oakland teacher Betty Olson-Jones.

“Because I don’t choose my students,” Olson-Jones said. “They come with all kinds of issues. They come from homes that are in poverty. It is not fair to judge teachers by test scores or students or schools and it is not fair to discriminate between older teachers and younger teachers.

A similar bill by Huff made it out of the same committee last year, but this one failed, though it may be taken up again in the future.

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