For Shot At Federal Education Funds, State Law Must Change: Bredesen

Governor Phil Bredesen says state law has to change for Tennessee to beat out other states competing for substantial federal education funds.

Today Bredesen underscored his call to let student test scores make up about half of a teacher’s performance review. He says that’s vital for the state to have a shot at hundreds of millions of federal “Race to the Top” dollars. But the state teachers’ union isn’t happy with the change.

The Tennessee Education Association says while it supports more accountability, it’s against resting the bulk of a teacher’s evaluation on student results.

Bredesen says other states are using such data for about half their teacher evaluation formula, so to compete Tennessee must do the same. He expects to negotiate with the teachers’ union next week, as state lawmakers consider the change.

“We’re a fair ways apart on that. I mean I need a fairly strong ability to use those results in evaluations, and they of course would like it to be minimal. And they’ve got some legitimate concerns, but they’re ones I think we can answer.”

Bredesen expects to finish draft legislation this week, before lawmakers convene next Tuesday. He wants legislators to make changes quickly. The deadline for the state’s application for “Race to the Top” funding comes after the Martin Luther King holiday.

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