The third draft of the RAISE Act, dated January 28, was recently published by the Montgomery Advertiser. The actual bill has not been filed yet, but here’s what’s changed.
Remember, it could change again before it is officially filed.
First, the summary.
The most notable change was the removal of the proposal to tie teacher bonuses to student test scores.
However, student growth still factors into the mandatory annual teacher evaluations proposed in the RAISE Act. It is still unclear how student growth will be measured for teachers of non-state-assessed subjects.
Two new ways for teachers to earn additional compensation would be created: the Alabama Teacher Recruitment Fund, which would provide additional pay for teachers teaching in hard-to-staff areas, and the Alabama Teacher Mentor Program, which would provide $1,000 for teachers with ten years or more of teaching experience to mentor a first-year teacher.
This draft also provides for $10 million in funding to the Legislative School Performance Recognition Program. This program was created in 2012, but has never been funded.
For teachers hired after January 1, 2017, tenure will be earned after five years, rather than three. There is still a provision for tenure to be revoked if teacher effectiveness ratings are low for two years in a row, but it is unclear whether tenure can be revoked for teachers hired before January 1, 2017.
Once again, in an effort to not crowd the page with quotation marks and italics, the writeup that follows is a mixture of language directly from the bill and my attempt to summarize it. Please refer to the actual copy of the draft if you have questions.
Now, the details.
These definitions come straight from the bill:
Student achievement growth – The change in achievement for an individual student between two or more points in time, based on standards-based measures that are valid, rigorous, and comparable across classrooms of similar content, levels, and status as a state assessed or nonstate assessed subject.
Student growth model – A statistical growth model used to isolate the effect and impact of a teacher on student learning, controlling for preexisting characteristics of a student including, but not limited to, prior achievement.
The growth model will be determined by the Alabama State Department of Education (ALSDE) in conjunction with a third party vendor, selected in accordance with the request for proposal process and will work with the Alabama Longitudinal Data Center (HB125) in developing the student growth model.
Beginning with the 2017-2018 school year, all teachers and teachers serving as principals or assistant principals will be evaluated annually.
The ALSDE will develop the model evaluation system.
Local boards of education can either use the state model evaluation or develop their own, as long as it matches with parameters established by the ALSDE in the model.
If a Reduction in Force is needed, the most significant factor to suspend or terminate employment must be the annual evaluation.
Teacher Evaluations, Specifically
The annual teacher evaluation must contain ALL of the following components:
Conducted twice per school year
School principal or assistant principal or designee will do the one.
Observations can be unannounced or announced.
At least one will require the observer to observe the entire lesson for the classroom period.
A clear and consistent rubric> will be provided to the teacher prior to the beginning of the school year
Observations will comprise from 20 to 40% of the total year-end teacher evaluation score.
(2) Measures of student achievement growth
For teachers of state-assessed subjects:
A growth model will be determined by the ALSDE, working with a third party vendor chosen by the ALSDE through the request for proposal process
Will be based on ACT Aspire, ACT or other test approved by the ALSDE
Additional tests can be used by ALSDE
For teachers of non-state-assessed subjects, the ALSDE will develop a list of preapproved options.
At least 3 years of student performance data will be used when available.
If a teacher doesn’t have student performance data available for three consecutive school years, all student growth and assessment data for the teacher will be used.
35% to 50% of year-end teacher evaluation scores will be based on student growth.
(3) Student Surveys
Grades 3 to 12 only
5% to 10% of total year-end teacher evaluation score will be based on student surveys.
(4) Additional measures will make up the remaining percentages.
(5) Feedback from observations to allow a teacher meaningful opportunity to improve effectiveness and get recommendations about targeted professional development.
Effectiveness Ratings for Teachers
Ratings of effectiveness will result from performance evaluations and will be one of the following:
Significantly below expectations
Significantly above expectations
The ALSDE must report the following on its web site:
Number of teachers rated at each performance level by school
Data for teacher preparation programs in the state
Achievement data for students
School districts must report the number of teachers at each effectiveness level by school and school system.
Teachers rated “below expectations” or “significantly below expectations” shall be reimbursed for professional development aligned with the annual evaluation.
Teachers rated “significantly below expectations” shall be reimbursed up to $500 by the ALSDE for professional development.
Principal/Assistant Principal Evaluations, Specifically
The evaluation will include:
(1) Multiple fair, transparent, timely, rigorous, and valid standards of quality leadership and performance.
The ALSDE will determine those measures.
Must include a professional growth plan developed by principal/assistant principal in collaboration with an evaluator.
(2) 35% to 50% of evaluation will be based on state assessments for grade levels and subjects available.
Teachers hired before January 1, 2017, earn tenure after 3 years of consecutive employment.
Teachers hired on or after January 1, 2017, earn tenure after 5 years IF the teacher receives three consecutive ratings of satisfies, exceeds, or significantly exceeds expectations.
Tenure can be revoked if the teacher receives two consecutive significantly below expectations performance ratings. The teacher can begin to earn tenure again upon revocation.
It is unclear if tenure can be revoked for teachers hired before January 1, 2017. Senate Pro Tem Del Marsh (R-Anniston) told the Montgomery Advertiser that
Legislative School Performance Recognition Program
This program was created in 2012 but has never been funded. The draft proposes to use $10 million to reward school performance through the program. The law passed in 2012 links the performance recognition program to the A-F grading system that was also created that year but has not been implemented.
The way the law currently reads states that schools can be awarded additional funding when they either:
(1) Demonstrate high performance by being ranked in the top 25 percent of public schools, as ranked in the school grading system created in Section 16-6C-2.
(2) Demonstrate exemplary progress by improving the overall annual ranking of the school by at least one letter grade, as ranked in the school grading system created in Section 16-6C-2.
The Alabama Teacher Recruitment Fund
$5 million will be available in the fund. Any unused funds revert to the Foundation Program.
Teachers who teach in the following schools may be eligible for a bonus of not more than the equivalent of a one-step increase on the State Minimum Salary Schedule.
- Failing school under the Alabama Accountability Act
- School that has 80% of more of students eligible for free or reduced price lunch
- School that is in restructuring or reconstitution status, as determined by the ALSDE
- School that is geographically unable to provide adequate staff, as determined by the ALSDE
How a teacher can actually earn the bonus:
- Teaches a subject in critical shortage, defined by local school system and approved by ALSDE, or
- Teaches in a career tech or special education position and the job has been pending more than 6 months, or
- Is a new teacher, or
- Has received a minimum rating of “satisfies expectations” on most recent evaluation
The bonus will be prorated if the teacher is hired during the school year.
All details must be compiled and reported by the ALSDE to:
- Speaker of the House of Representatives,
- President Pro Tempore of the Senate
- Chair of the House Ways and Means, Education Committee
- Chair of the Senate Finance and Taxation Education Committee
That report must include a list of the schools, the numbers of teachers per school, amount of each bonus, and the subject each teacher teaches for any teacher earning a bonus through this fund.
The Alabama Teacher Mentor Program
$3 million will be made available for this program. Any leftover funds revert to the Foundation Program.
Each new teacher shall be assigned a mentor teacher.
Mentors will be assigned by the principal and must have at least 10 years of teaching experience.
Mentors will be paid $1,000 for serving as a mentor.
Senate Pro Tem Del Marsh (R-Anniston) talked details of the RAISE Act on the February 5 episode of Capitol Journal. It will air again at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday, February 7. The episode, once made available online, will be posted here.
No word yet on when an actual bill will be filed.