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Washington lawmakers consider 2 bills aimed at regaining No Child Left Behind waiver


OLYMPIA, Washington — State lawmakers are considering two bills aimed at regaining the state's waiver from some parts of the federal No Child Left Behind law.

The News Tribune reports ( ) bills heard before a Senate education committee on Tuesday would require statewide test results be used in teacher and principal evaluations.

Last year, Washington state lost its waiver after lawmakers refused to answer a federal government demand that they pass a similar proposal.

This school year, Washington went back to the old way of meeting student achievement requirements under the federal education law. More than 40 other states have been granted a federal waiver that allows them to try new ways to measure student progress.

Both Senate Bill 5748 and Senate Bill 5749 would delay the use of teacher and principal evaluations in school personnel decisions until the 2016-17 school year.

The state teachers union, the Washington Education Association, is opposing both bills.

"I don't want my value as an educator to be determined by a test that cannot possibly determine how hard I have worked, how hard my students have worked, and the challenges we face every day," said Victoria Mann, a teacher from Mercer Island, before the Senate committee Tuesday.

Education reform advocates and the state Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction support the use of state testing data in evaluations. They say even with the proposed changes, student scores on standardized tests would still be only a small part of the information school districts use to evaluate teachers and principals.

"It needs fixing. But please do not wait for Washington D.C. to fix this bill," said Cary Evans, lobbyist for the education reform group Stand for Children. "It might be six months, or it might be six years."

Information from: The News Tribune,

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