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S 763

112th CONGRESS
1st Session

S. 763

To amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to require the establishment of teacher evaluation programs.

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

April 7 (legislative day, April 5), 2011

Mr. LIEBERMAN (for himself, Mr. BROWN of Massachusetts, and Ms. LANDRIEU) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions


A BILL

To amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to require the establishment of teacher evaluation programs.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the `Securing Teacher Effectiveness, Leaders, Learning, And Results Act' or the `STELLAR Student Act'.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

    Congress finds the following:

      (1) Effective teachers and principals are the backbone of our schools and the key to successful students.

      (2) Teachers and principals deserve our full support as they take on one of the most important and most challenging responsibilities--educating our children.

      (3) Research shows that high-quality and effective teaching is the single most important school-based factor impacting student learning.

      (4) High-quality evaluations that provide meaningful feedback are a crucial element in giving educators the support they need to help students achieve at high levels.

      (5) Teachers and principals also deserve access to high-quality professional development opportunities.

      (6) Constructive feedback specifying areas for improvement could be useful to both teachers and principals.

      (7) Although research also suggests that quality teacher evaluations are an important tool in improving teacher performance, for many teachers, the current evaluation systems do not provide useful feedback that would help the teachers improve and grow as instructors.

      (8) In formal studies, including research highlighted in `The Widget Effect', nearly 75 percent of teachers reported that they have not received specific suggestions on how to improve classroom practices in annual evaluations.

      (9) Across all local educational agencies, only 43 percent of teachers, including novice teachers who may benefit the most from suggestions, report that current evaluations systems help them.

      (10) Research also shows that school leadership quality is second only to teacher quality among school-related factors that impact student learning.

      (11) Strong school leadership is a key determinant of whether schools can attract and retain effective teachers. Principals set the direction and the vision for a school.

      (12) Effective teachers and principals also deserve to be recognized for excellence and receive commendations in areas of strong performance and significant improvement.

      (13) High-quality teacher and principal evaluations have the potential to be a powerful tool and should play a significant role in improving the public education system.

      (14) Teachers and principals should provide input and contribute directly to designing, implementing, and improving evaluation systems in their school districts.

      (15) Students and parents deserve effective teachers and inspirational principals who are performing to the best of their ability and who are helping to close achievement gaps and raise student achievement.

SEC. 3. ROBUST TEACHER AND PRINCIPAL EVALUATIONS.

    (a) Teacher and Principal Evaluations- Section 1111(a) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 6311(a)) is amended by adding at the end the following:

      `(3) REPORT ON TEACHER AND PRINCIPAL EVALUATIONS- For any State desiring to receive a grant under this part, the State educational agency shall submit to the Secretary not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of the Securing Teacher Effectiveness, Leaders, Learning, And Results Act, a report on--

        `(A) the system in the State of evaluating teachers' and principals' performance; and

        `(B) how such evaluation factors into decisions on tenure, compensation, promotion, and dismissals of teachers and principals.'.

    (b) Teacher and Principal Evaluations- Section 1111(b) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 6311(b)) is amended by adding at the end the following:

      `(11) ROBUST TEACHER AND PRINCIPAL EVALUATIONS-

        `(A) IN GENERAL- Not later than 4 years after the date of enactment of the Securing Teacher Effectiveness, Leaders, Learning, And Results Act, each State shall carry out the following:

          `(i) Establish, after taking input from teachers and principals, a statewide definition of teacher and principal effectiveness that includes not less than 4 levels of performance ratings for teachers and for principals, including an effective rating and a highly effective rating, based on such definitions.

          `(ii) Demonstrate that the State has developed, after taking input from teachers and principals, a model teacher and principal evaluation program under which--

            `(I) individuals in charge of administering teacher and principal evaluations within each local educational agency in the State are provided rigorous training on how to conduct the teacher and principal evaluations, including--

`(aa) how to provide specific feedback about improving teaching and principal practice based on evaluation results; and

`(bb) how to evaluate teachers and principals using the performance ratings described in clause (i) and established under subparagraphs (B)(iii) and (C)(viii);

            `(II) a teacher or principal who is evaluated is provided, based on the evaluation results, professional development opportunities that meet the specific needs identified for the teacher or principal;

            `(III) measures are taken to ensure that any personally identifiable information of teachers and principals is not publicly disclosed, except as required to comply with the reporting requirements of paragraph (1)(C)(ix), and clauses (i)(III) and (ii)(III) of paragraph (2)(B), of section 1111(h);

            `(IV) regular monitoring and assessment of the quality, reliability, validity, fairness, consistency, and objectivity of the evaluation program and the evaluators' judgments takes place within and across local educational agencies in the State;

            `(V) each teacher's performance is evaluated in accordance with subparagraph (B);

            `(VI) each principal's performance is evaluated in accordance with subparagraph (C);

            `(VII) on the basis of the evaluation, each teacher or principal receives--

`(aa) a performance rating, as described in clause (i), that is based on multiple measures;

`(bb) in the case of a teacher--

`(AA) in a grade level and subject area with a statewide assessment, a measure of student learning gains that is comparable across the State for all teachers in grade levels and subject areas with a statewide assessment; or

`(BB) in a grade level and subject area without a statewide assessment, a measure of student learning gains that is comparable across the local educational agency for all teachers in grade levels and subject areas without a statewide assessment;

`(cc) ongoing formative feedback and specific recommendations on areas for professional improvement, which includes an identification of areas in which the teacher or principal can strengthen practices to improve student learning;

`(dd) a measure of student academic growth with respect to the State's academic standards of the school's students, including students in each of the subgroups described in paragraph (2)(C)(v)(II);

`(ee) commendations for excellence in areas of strong performance and in areas of significant improvement; and

`(ff) in the case of a teacher or principal who is identified as being in 1 of the lowest 2 performance ratings described in clause (i), a 1-year comprehensive remediation plan;

            `(VIII) evaluation results are used as the principal factor in informing all key personnel and staffing decisions, including retention, dismissal, promotion, compensation, and tenure;

            `(IX) evaluation results are the primary factor used in determining layoffs during any reduction in force;

            `(X) any teacher or principal who receives 1 of the lowest 2 performance ratings and does not successfully improve performance on an evaluation after completing the comprehensive remediation plan as required under subclause (VII)(ff) is prohibited from working in any elementary school or secondary school served under this part;

            `(XI) any teacher or principal who receives the lowest performance rating for 3 consecutive years is subject to dismissal;

            `(XII) evaluation results are used to ensure that low-income students and students of color are not assigned at higher rates than other students to classes in core academic subjects taught by teachers who have received 1 of the 2 lowest evaluation rates in their most recent evaluation; and

            `(XIII) a system is implemented under which each teacher and principal is evaluated at least annually.

          `(iii) Demonstrate that each local educational agency in the State has adopted a local educational agency-wide teacher and principal evaluation program that--

            `(I) was developed after seeking input from teachers and principals;

            `(II) meets the standards for validity and reliability developed by the State; and

            `(III) meets the minimum requirements set forth in clause (ii).

          `(iv) Demonstrate that each local educational agency in the State is seeking input from teachers and principals to make improvements to the evaluation program on an annual basis.

          `(v) Submit, on a regular basis, to the Secretary a review of the teacher and principal evaluation systems used by the local educational agencies in the State, including--

            `(I) comparing the teacher and principal evaluation results, for each local educational agency and each such agency's schools, against the student academic achievement and student academic growth in all local educational agencies in the State and all schools served by such local educational agencies;

            `(II) assessing the extent to which each local educational agency's existing system demonstrates meaningful differentiation among teacher performance levels and among principal performance levels; and

            `(III) comparing implementation and results across local educational agencies' evaluation systems to ensure--

`(aa) comparability across the State in implementation of such systems; and

`(bb) that such systems meet the State's criteria or definitions for each of the terms described in clause (i).

          `(vi) Provide technical assistance to improve an agency's teacher and principal evaluation system so that the system provides meaningful differentiation and is aligned with student academic achievement and student growth results in the agency and in each of the agency's schools.

          `(vii) Establish a timeline for implementation that--

            `(I) ensures that measures of student academic growth, as described in subparagraphs (B)(i) and (C)(i), are developed not later than 2 years after the date of enactment of the Securing Teacher Effectiveness, Leaders, Learning, And Results Act;

            `(II) ensures evaluation systems that meet the requirements of subparagraphs (B) and (C) are implemented statewide by not later than 3 years after the date of enactment of such Act, except that such systems shall not have to meet the requirements under subclauses (VIII) through (XII) of clause (ii); and

            `(III) ensures evaluation systems that meet all the requirements of this paragraph are fully implemented statewide by not later than 4 years after the date of enactment of such Act.

          `(viii) Submit to the Secretary an annual report on implementation of the State plan under this section and on meeting the timelines required under this section.

          `(ix) Publish a report each year showing the average estimate of teacher impact on student growth for each of the performance ratings described in clause (i).

        `(B) REQUIREMENTS FOR TEACHER EVALUATIONS- The evaluation of a teacher's performance shall comply with the following minimum requirements:

          `(i) STUDENT ACADEMIC GROWTH- The predominant factor of the evaluation is student academic growth with respect to the State's academic standards, as measured by--

            `(I) student learning gains on the State's academic assessments established under paragraph (3) or, for grades and subjects not covered by the State's academic assessments, another valid and reliable assessment of student academic achievement, as long as the assessment is used consistently by the local educational agency in which the teacher is employed for the grade or class for which the assessment is administered; and

            `(II) if available, value-added measures that track individual student academic growth while under the instruction of the teacher.

          `(ii) OBSERVATIONS OF TEACHER PERFORMANCE- A portion of the evaluation is based on observations of the teacher's performance in the classroom by not less than 1 trained and objective observer--

            `(I) that take place on not less than 2 occasions during the school year the teacher is being evaluated; and

            `(II) under which--

`(aa) a teacher is evaluated against a rigorous rubric that defines multiple performance categories in alignment with the State's professional standards for teachers; and

`(bb) observation ratings meaningfully differentiate among teachers' performance and bear a relationship to evidence of student academic growth with respect to the State's academic standards.

          `(iii) MEANINGFUL DIFFERENTIATION- The evaluation provides performance ratings that meaningfully differentiate among teacher performance using the performance ratings and levels described in subparagraph (A)(i).

          `(iv) COMPARABILITY OF STUDENT GAINS- The evaluation provides a measure of student learning gains that is comparable across the State for all teachers in grade levels and subject areas with a statewide assessment.

          `(v) COMPARABILITY OF RESULTS- The evaluation provides results that are comparable, at a minimum, across all teachers within a grade level or subject area in the local educational agency in which the teacher is employed.

        `(C) REQUIREMENTS FOR PRINCIPAL EVALUATIONS- The evaluation of the performance of a principal of a school shall comply with the following minimum requirements:

          `(i) STUDENT ACADEMIC GROWTH- The predominant factor of the evaluation is student academic growth with respect to the State's academic standards of the school's students, including students in each of the subgroups described in paragraph (2)(C)(v)(II).

          `(ii) GRADUATING RATES- For a principal of a secondary school, a portion of the evaluation is based on improvements in the school's graduation rates.

          `(iii) SUPPORT OF EFFECTIVE TEACHERS- A portion of the evaluation is based on the recruitment, development, evaluation, and retention of effective teachers.

          `(iv) LEADERSHIP ABILITIES- A portion of the evaluation is based on the leadership abilities of the principal, as measured by observations of the principal and other relevant data evaluated against a rigorous rubric that defines multiple performance categories in alignment with the State's professional standards for principals.

          `(v) STUDENT ATTENDANCE RATES- A portion of the evaluation is based on student attendance rates, as calculated by the State or local educational agency.

          `(vi) CONTENT OF OBSERVATION RATINGS- The observations described in clause (iv) provide observation ratings that--

            `(I) meaningfully differentiate among principals' performance; and

            `(II) bear a strong relationship to evidence of student academic growth with respect to the State's academic standards.

          `(vii) DESCRIPTION OF LEADERSHIP ABILITIES- The leadership abilities referred to in clause (iv) include the ability of the principal to--

            `(I) create a shared and coherent schoolwide direction and policy for achieving high levels of student academic growth and closing achievement gaps among students;

            `(II) identify and implement the activities and rigorous curriculum necessary for achieving high levels of student academic growth;

            `(III) create opportunities for the community and families of students to engage positively with school administrators and staff;

            `(IV) support positive learning environments for students;

            `(V) cultivate a positive and collaborative work environment for school faculty and staff;

            `(VI) collect, analyze, and utilize data and other tangible evidence of student learning and evidence of classroom practice to guide decisions and actions for continuous improvement and to ensure performance accountability;

            `(VII) effectively oversee and manage a teacher evaluation program that provides individualized feedback; and

            `(VIII) have strong organizational management of a school, including sound budget and personnel practices.

          `(viii) MEANINGFUL DIFFERENTIATION- The evaluation provides performance ratings that meaningfully differentiate among principal performance using the performance ratings and levels described in subparagraph (A)(i).

          `(ix) COMPARABILITY OF RESULTS- The evaluation provides results that are comparable across all principals within the local educational agency in which the principal is employed.'.

    (c) Additional State Plan Requirements- Section 1111(b)(8)(C) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 6311(b)(8)(C)) is amended by inserting `or teachers who received a performance rating under the evaluation system described in paragraph (11) that is below the effective level' after `teachers'.

    (d) Evaluation Clearinghouse- Section 1111(j) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 6311(j)) is amended--

      (1) by striking `Assistance- The' and inserting the following: Assistance; Clearinghouse on Evaluation Systems--

      `(1) Technical Assistance- The'; and

      (2) by adding at the end the following:

      `(2) CLEARINGHOUSE- The Secretary shall establish a clearinghouse in the Department to share the best practices relating to teacher and principal evaluation, including best practices and other information based on the reports described in subsection (a)(3), the evaluation reviews described in subsection (a)(11)(A)(v), and any other reports addressing teacher and principal evaluation that are required under this Act, with other educators.'.

SEC. 4. PUBLIC REPORTING.

    Section 1111(h) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 6311(h)) is amended--

      (1) in paragraph (1)(C)--

        (A) in clause (vii), by striking `and' after the semicolon;

        (B) in clause (viii), by striking the period at the end and inserting `; and'; and

        (C) by adding at the end the following:

          `(ix) for each performance rating described in subsection (a)(11)(A)(i), the number and percentage of teachers, and the number and percentage of principals, who received such performance rating, for--

            `(I) the State overall;

            `(II) the highest poverty and lowest poverty local educational agencies; and

            `(III) the highest minority and lowest minority local educational agencies.';

      (2) in paragraph (2)(B)--

        (A) in clause (i)--

          (i) in subclause (I), by striking `and' after the semicolon; and

          (ii) by adding at the end the following:

            `(III) for each performance rating described in subsection (a)(11)(A)(i), the number and percentage of teachers, and the number and percentage of principals, who received such performance rating, for--

`(aa) the local educational agency overall;

`(bb) the highest poverty and lowest poverty schools; and

`(cc) the highest minority and lowest minority schools; and'; and

        (B) in clause (ii)--

          (i) in subclause (I), by striking `and' after the semicolon;

          (ii) in subclause (II), by striking the period at the end and inserting `; and'; and

          (iii) by adding at the end the following:

            `(III) for each performance rating described in subsection (a)(11)(A)(i), the number and percentage of teachers at the school that received such performance rating.';

      (3) in paragraph (4)--

        (A) in subparagraph (F), by striking `and' after the semicolon;

        (B) in subparagraph (G), by striking the period at the end and inserting `; and'; and

        (C) by adding at the end the following:

        `(H) the information required to be reported under paragraphs (1)(C)(ix) and (2)(B)(i)(III).'; and

      (4) by adding at the end the following:

      `(7) DEFINITIONS- For purposes of this subsection:

        `(A) HIGHEST MINORITY- The term `highest minority' when used in relation to a school or local educational agency means a school or local educational agency that is in the highest quartile of schools or local educational agencies statewide in terms of the percentage of pupils who are members of ethnic or racial minority groups.

        `(B) HIGHEST POVERTY- The term `highest poverty' when used in relation to a school or local educational agency means a school or local educational agency that is in the highest quartile of schools or local educational agencies statewide in terms of the percentage of students who are certified as eligible for free or reduced price lunch under the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (42 U.S.C. 1751 et seq.).

        `(C) LOWEST MINORITY- The term `lowest minority' when used in relation to a school or local educational agency means a school or local educational agency that is in the lowest quartile of schools or local educational agencies statewide in terms of the percentage of pupils who are members of ethnic or racial minority groups.

        `(D) LOWEST POVERTY- The term `lowest poverty' when used in relation to a school or local educational agency means a school or local educational agency that is in the lowest quartile of schools or local educational agencies statewide in terms of the percentage of students who are certified as eligible for free or reduced price lunch under the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (42 U.S.C. 1751 et seq.).

        `(E) STUDENT ACADEMIC GROWTH- The term `student academic growth' means the change in a student's achievement between 2 or more points in time, as measured through an approach that is statistically rigorous and appropriate for the knowledge and skills being measured.'.

SEC. 5. RECOGNITION OF LOCAL EDUCATIONAL AGENCIES.

    The Secretary of Education shall, based on the information received from each local educational agency report card under section 1111(h)(2)(B)(i)(III) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 6311(h)(2)(B)(i)(III)), recognize and provide commendations to each local educational agency that implements or has implemented innovative, high-quality, and effective teacher or principal evaluation programs that lead to professional development and improved student performance.

SEC. 6. REPORT.

    Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Education shall prepare and submit a report to Congress that--

      (1) identifies any unnecessary or duplicative education-related reporting requirements and regulations facing States and local educational agencies as a result of the amendments made by this Act to section 1111 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 6311); and

      (2) includes the Secretary's recommendations regarding streamlining or eliminating the requirements regarding highly qualified teachers under sections 1119 and 9101(23) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 6319, 7801(23)) after the teacher evaluation system required under section 1111 of such Act (20 U.S.C. 6311), as amended by this Act, is fully implemented.

END