By Padres & Jovenes Unidos Published in El Semanario February 25, 2010Jóvenes Unidos (Youth United) members visited the Colorado State Capitol on Tuesday and met with lawmakers about the “Educator Evaluations and Effectiveness” bill being sponsored by Senator Johnston, Representative Todd and Representative Merrifield. The bill, which is scheduled to be introduced within the next two weeks, seeks to change teacher and principal evaluations to improve their effectiveness and increase student success in Colorado.
Research has repeatedly proven that the single most important factor in a student’s academic achievement is quality teachers and principals. And, while education reform is becoming a top priority at the local, state and federal level,Colorado currently does not have a system to measure educator effectiveness. These evaluations are needed and play an important role in making crucial decisions that affect our students’ education.
Despite an array of education reform efforts, we have seen little improvement in our communities’ schools. School districts across the state continue to face alarming academic achievement gaps. Far too many low-income students of color are falling behind and testing below grade level. While CSAP test results reveal that an average of 80% of students in Denver enter high school several years behind grade level, a Padres and Jóvenes Unidos study of NorthHigh School found that 93% of its students want to go to college. If we are going to make college and success beyond high school a reality for our communities we need to address this contradiction and we can start by looking at the effectiveness of our educators and how they are evaluated.
“Padres and Jóvenes Unidos believes that every student deserves a high quality education that prepares them for college and the Johnston bill is a good step towards achieving this,” reiterated Julieta Quiñonez, Padres and Jóvenes Unidos youth organizer. “I am blown away by the involvement and leadership of Jovenes Unidos in education reform at the state level.”
The Jóvenes Unidos Legislative Team has already lobbied the capitol twice on this issue and plans to work closely with the bill’s co-sponsors to achieve its passage and successful implementation. “Experiencing the way bills are passed makes me look at how difficult a change can be and the importance of youth organizing in the process,” said Samuel, Jóvenes Unidos leader.
For more information or to get involved with Padres and Jóvenes Unidos, contact Julieta Quiñonez, 303/458-6545.
Educator Evaluations and Effectiveness Bill will:
Provide teachers with meaningful and useful feedback on their performance which they can use to improve their practice and link to professional development.
Use a combination of student growth and the percentage of teachers that are effective or improving to evaluate principals.
Reward highly effective teachers and principals with challenging career ladders that offer more pay and more responsibility to help increase the effectiveness of their colleagues.
Award tenure to teachers based on 3 consecutive years of demonstrated effectiveness or take away tenure based on 2 out of 3 years of demonstrated ineffectiveness.