Indiana moves to performance based model for teachers

Indiana will be changing the way teachers are evaluated and paid. Under a Senate bill signed on Friday, Indiana will now include teacher effectiveness benchmarks in its hiring, salary and promotions decisions. The bill is the first of Governor Mitch Daniels broad education reform agenda to pass both chambers and be signed into law.

Under the terms of the law, schools must now develop local, rigorous annual teacher evaluations that examine not only professional development but student achievement and growth in student learning. Seniority and academic degrees will now only count for one-third of consideration criteria in hiring and performance. Schools will also be able to reward teachers based on performance at the end of their evaluation process.

In addition to new evaluations, parents will also have more involvement in who teaches their children. According to the bill, if a teacher is rated ineffective for two years straight parents must approve of them teaching their children. Parents will also be more accountable for attendance, as the measure gives schools enhanced authority to pursue action against parents whose children are truant. Finally, the bill requires the Department of Education to partner with businesses and organizations to increase operational efficiency.

This week, Governor Daniels is expected to sign the remaining pieces of his education reform package, including a bill that will expand charter school opportunities, provide parents with more school choice, and a measure that provides postsecondary scholarships to Hoosier seniors who graduate from high school early.

“Among all the things we can do to make more successful the children of this state, nothing comes close to a better teacher. We are so glad that Indiana has leaped to the forefront by saying to people of all backgrounds and all walks of life, ‘come and teach,'” Daniels said, surrounded by Hoosier teachers from such organizations as Stand for Children, Students First and Teach for America.

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