We are pleased to have some good news to report regarding changes in SB 1403 by Sen. Dan Patrick (R-Houston) concerning teacher evaluation. On the Senate floor today, the bill was stripped of its dangerous language giving the commissioner a blank check to establish a new appraisal framework and performance criteria for educators. The bill’s original promoters wanted that language as the springboard for an evaluation system relying heavily and inappropriately on students’ scores on standardized state tests. But an amendment by Sen. Wendy Davis (D-Fort Worth) knocked that provision out of the bill entirely. Sen. Davis rightly questioned the validity of using current state tests for evaluation and other purposes. Credit is due Sen. Davis and her colleagues in the Senate Democratic Caucus for insisting on this change.
Credit is also due to 2,883 of you who e-mailed your senators a letter from the Texas AFT Web site in opposition to the evaluation section of SB 1403. Thanks in good part to your efforts, that section of the bill is now gone. Sen. Patrick today publicly vowed to keep it out of the bill as it continues through the legislative process. Sen. Davis made certain that Sen. Patrick’s avowal will appear in the Senate Journal.
As a result of this successful intervention on the Senate floor, Texas AFT’s online letter of opposition to SB 1403 has been deactivated. However, vigilance is still in order as this bill goes to the House, where other legislation promoting test-driven evaluation remains in play (HB 2977 by Rep. Jason Villalba, R-Dallas). You can address the evaluation issue and other elements of the multi-front attack on public education this session by sending a new letter from the Texas AFT Web site.