Rep. Rogers’ bill returns controls to local school districts

Legislation that will save millions of dollars and give greater control to local school districts in evaluating teachers went into effect July 1.   House Bill 2957, by Rep. Michael Rogers, vice chair of the House Common Education Committee, and Sen. John Ford, Senate Education chair, was approved during the just-ended 2016 legislative session. The measure makes changes to Oklahoma’s Teacher Leader Effectiveness Evaluation System (TLE).

“One of the most important keys to success for our students is a dedicated and professional classroom teacher. The TLE was intended to aid in the professional development of those educators,” said Ford, who represents Nowata, Rogers and Washington Counties. “While accountability measures are important, sometimes there are unintended consequences—the concern was that the TLE was a mandate that interfered with a teacher’s ability to focus on students. This legislation addresses that concern, putting the focus on professional growth and enabling our teachers to do what they do best—teach.”

HB 2957 removes the mandate of tying a teacher’s performance rating to student test scores. It also eliminates the requirement for evaluation scores to be used to terminate teachers. Schools may still use the assessment tools that factor in student test scores, but if they choose to do so, they are responsible for the cost.

“Senator Ford and I believe it is important to listen to the concerns of our local teachers, administrators and parents, and this legislation is in response to those concerns,” said Rogers, R-Broken Arrow. “I thank our colleagues in the Legislature and Governor Mary Fallin for their support for HB 2957, giving flexibility to local districts and letting board members, administrators and parents determine what works best for their schools.”