Assemblymember Wallace: Legislation Decouples Teacher Evaluations from State Tests, Returns Control to Local School Districts

Assemblymember Monica P. Wallace (D-Lancaster) announced that legislation she co-sponsored relating to teacher evaluations passed the Assembly today. The legislation eliminates the state mandate for standardized tests to be linked to teacher evaluations (A.10475). The measure puts control of teacher and principal evaluations back in the hands of local school districts.

“Linking standardized test scores to teacher evaluations has resulted in an overemphasis on testing at the expense of learning,” Wallace said. “As a parent and as someone who has taught at the university level, I have seen how standardized testing can cause students to be more concerned with their grades than with learning. It’s time to put the focus back on learning. This measure allows our teachers do what they do best – teach and nurture our kids.”

This legislation eliminates the mandate that students’ performance on state-created or administered assessments, including English Language Arts (ELA) and math tests for grades 3 through 8, heavily influence teacher evaluations. The mandate was put on hold for four years in December 2015, and this bill permanently lifts it. The measure also prohibits English Language Arts (ELA) and math assessments recorded in grades 3 through 8 from being included on a student’s permanent record.

“The state’s overreliance on testing has created a stressful environment for students and teachers alike,” Wallace said. “Providing a high-quality education for our kids starts with giving the reins to the people who know best – educators. Our kids deserve to truly learn, not just memorize answers to a state test.”

Wallace has long been an advocate for public education. She recently sponsored a measure to authorize school districts to establish a reserve fund to cover costs and expenses of providing special education programs (A.10398).