The school district where I teach has always dismissed ineffective teachers. Our administrators are very thorough and follow through on the procedures required to document unprofessional behavior and ineffective teaching practices. Additional legislation may be needed to assist some districts and school boards in achieving this task, but I maintain that the procedures have always been in place, even under our current tenure rules.
I'm a little concerned about the Value-Added-Model being employed in HB 631 because honestly, my evaluators haven't always been knowledgeable in my subject matter. It's impossible for administrators/evaluators to know all of the upper level content courses in our schools. To use VAM in the future, they will be reliant on individual student assessments from current and previous years.
I teach upper-level math to classes of 20-30 students who naturally have widely varying ability levels - yes, even in calculus. Students at the upper end of the spectrum unfortunately don't progress as far as students at the lower end, over the course of the year, because instructional techniques must remediate for struggling students in order for the entire class to move forward. I haven't seen a VAM that accommodates for that fact, but it the model exists, we don't have assessments to address this mathematics, and if we did, our state does not have the technological infrastructure to administer the model fairly and accurately across disciplines.
My concern is that the VAM "ideology" precedes the reality of implementation - which is often the case... and the assessments utilized will soon to be associated with mediocre Common Core standards, unless our legislators pass HB616 and SB 210.
The Common Core standards movement has gained ground only on ideology from the onset. When the idea was first discussed four or five years ago, I was like most conservatives in thinking it could be good to have "common" baseline standards for public schools. Two things changed my mind almost from the onset: 1) they really weren't "baseline" standards because they introduced the 85% cap in the first draft and it remained in the final draft, and 2) there is no virtuous reason that these standards need a copyright, in this day of open source educational materials available from reputable colleges and universities everywhere, unless there was alterior motive.
Those were the things that induced my personal questioning of the CCSS "initiative", but since that time, much substantive research has been conducted by questioning minds through the US. Although I can't attend the upcoming hearing on SB210, I urge Missouri's legislators to represent their constituents by thoroughly researching the memorandum of agreement that signed away our state's sovereignty in education.
MO SB 210 has a hearing scheduled for March 6, 2012 in the Senate Education Committee
MO HB 616 has been referred to the Downsizing State Government Committee
[Shouldn't that be Downsizing the FEDERAL Government?]