Legislative panel rejects regulation on teacher evaluations

A state legislative review panel voted Monday night against a proposed regulation that would require 50 percent of a teacher's evaluation in Maryland to be based on student achievement.

The state school board, which proposed the regulation, must now decide whether to proceed without legislative support. If the board does, it will be up to Gov. Martin O'Malley to decide whether the regulation takes effect.

Legislators on the Administrative, Executive and Legislative Review panel voted 12-3 against the regulation, according to Sen. Paul G. Pinsky, a Prince George's County Democrat.

Maryland won $250 million in federal Race to the Top funds on the strength of its application, which included the regulation that requires the 50 percent goal.

But Pinsky said he voted against it because he and other lawmakers didn't believe it was consistent with a law passed last winter that says student achievement should be a "significant" part of a teacher evaluation.

"I think people felt uncomfortable about the processes in the regulation. … People didn't have a disagreement about wanting to have a high-quality evaluation system," Pinsky said. "They felt the law wasn't followed."

Pinsky said legislators voted to ask the state board to redo the regulation so it complies with the law.

O'Malley and the Maryland State Department of Education will weigh their options, according to their representatives.

"Our belief all along is that one of the bedrock parts of the Race to the Top application was that growth in student achievement is a significant part of how we should evaluate teachers," said William Reinhard, a spokesman for the state education department.

Shaun Adamec, a spokesman for the governor, said O'Malley has not decided what to do, but "he isn't going to do anything to jeopardize the $250 million."

The state board could also negotiate a compromise with the legislature, Adamec said.


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