Stand for Children and the Massachusetts Teachers Association have reached an agreement that will obviate Stand’s ballot initiative and the MTA’s lawsuit to block it. The two groups will jointly propose legislation that, among other provisions, makes a teacher’s effectiveness rather than seniority the primary factor in dismissal decisions. AIM and the Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education had called for the two sides to open the way to a legislative solution by proposing changes to the existing law; we now urge the Legislature to act on the proposal so as to avoid a costly and divisive campaign that would be likely to set back the cause of school improvement whatever the outcome of the vote.
The compromise legislation represents a substantial step forward beyond the model educator evaluation system now being implemented under the direction of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education as part of Massachusetts’ commitment to the Race to the Top initiative. Does it get us all the way to where we need to go? Certainly not – but it keeps us moving in the right direction; and the mere fact of the agreement gives promise that we will be able to work through the complex and sometimes contentious issues of school improvement with the positive engagement of all parties.
We commend Jason Williams, Executive Director of Stand for Children, and Paul Toner, President of the Massachusetts Teachers Association, for their statesmanship in arriving at a compromise that maintains our state’s deliberate progress towards an evaluation system that will support teacher professionalism to the benefit all our students.