< Back to H.R. 768 (113th Congress, 2013–2015)

Text of the Securing Teacher Effectiveness, Leadership, Learning, And Results Act of 2013

This bill was introduced on February 15, 2013, in a previous session of Congress, but was not enacted. The text of the bill below is as of Feb 15, 2013 (Introduced).

I

113th CONGRESS

1st Session

H. R. 768

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

February 15, 2013

(for herself and Mr. Polis) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Education and the Workforce

A BILL

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

1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the Securing Teacher Effectiveness, Leadership, Learning, And Results Act of 2013 or the STELLAR Act .

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)

High-quality evaluations that provide meaningful feedback are a crucial element to giving educators the support they need to successfully achieve at high levels.

(4)

Teachers and principals also deserve access to professional development opportunities so they can continue to learn and grow as educators.

(5)

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

(6)

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.

(7)

Across all local educational agencies, only 43 percent of teachers, including novice teachers who may benefit the most from feedback, report that current evaluations systems are helpful.

(8)

Research also shows that school leadership quality is second only to teacher quality among school-related factors in its impact on student learning.

(9)

Strong school leadership is a key determinant of whether schools can attract and retain effective teachers particularly in high poverty schools, as research has found teachers’ satisfaction to be more influenced by the culture of the school than by the demographics of the school’s students.

(10)

Principals set the direction and vision for a school, and studies find that strong instructional leadership and a focus on building a shared mission focused on student achievement can create a positive teaching and learning environment.

(11)

Constructive feedback specifying areas for improvement could be useful to both teachers and principals who are dedicated to growing professionally.

(12)

The most effective way to turn around a struggling school is through talented teachers and an inspirational principal.

(13)

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

(14)

Evaluations should give teachers and principals the opportunity to foster mutually beneficial professional relationships.

(15)

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

(16)

High-quality teacher and principal evaluations have the potential to be a powerful tool and should play a significant role in building a talented force of educators.

(17)

The goal of evaluation systems is to improve individual, as well as whole school and district, teaching and leadership practices to benefit students.

3.

Robust teacher and principal evaluations

(a)

In general

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 3 years after the date of enactment of the STELLAR Act, each State plan shall include the following:

(i)

The statewide definitions of teacher and principal effectiveness that the State has established and 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)

A demonstration that the State has developed, after taking input from and collaborating with, 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 identify areas for improvement and provide specific feedback about improving teaching and principal practice based on evaluation results;

(bb)

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

(cc)

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), and training on how to interpret such measure; and

(dd)

how to reliably and accurately rate teachers using the State’s rigorous rubric that meets the requirements of subparagraph (B)(ii)(II)(aa);

(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, including mentorship programs that use highly effective teachers or principals as leaders or coaches;

(III)

measures are taken to ensure that the results of personally identifiable teacher and principal evaluations are not publicly disclosed, except as required under subsection (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 annually evaluated in accordance with subparagraph (B);

(VI)

each principal’s performance is annually 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, in addition to the measures required under subparagraph (B)

(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 comparable across the local educational agency for all teachers in the same grade without a statewide assessment for elementary schools and for all teachers in the same grade and subject area without a statewide assessment in secondary schools;

(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)

commendations for excellence in areas of strong performance and in areas of significant improvement; and

(ee)

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 comprehensive remediation plan within set time parameters not to exceed 1 year;

(VIII)

evaluation results are clearly communicated to each teacher and principal, and the steps, goals, and requirements of a professional development or remediation plan are clearly communicated to the teacher or principal;

(IX)

evaluation results are the primary factor used in determining layoffs during any reduction in force;

(X)

evaluation results are used to ensure that low-income students and minority students are not assigned at higher rates than other students to classes in core academic subjects taught by teachers who have received one of the two lowest evaluation rates in their most recent evaluation;

(XI)

evaluation results are used as the principal factor in informing all key personnel and staffing decisions, including decisions with respect to tenure, promotion, and retention;

(XII)

any teacher or principal who receives the lowest evaluation performance rating for 2 consecutive years is subject to dismissal;

(XIII)

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

(XIV)

any teacher or principal who receives the second lowest performance rating and does not successfully improve performance on an evaluation after completing such comprehensive remediation plan is prohibited from working in any elementary school or secondary school—

(aa)

in a State-defined turnaround status; or

(bb)

in the lowest 5 percent of schools based on its performance against State-defined student achievement goals.

(iii)

A demonstration 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 and collaborating with 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)

A demonstration that each local educational agency in the State is seeking input from and collaborating with teachers and principals to make improvements to the evaluation program on an annual basis.

(v)

An assurance that the State will, on a regular basis—

(I)

review the teacher and principal evaluation systems used by the local educational agencies in the State, including—

(aa)

comparing the teacher and principal evaluation results, for each agency and each agency's schools, against the student academic achievement and student growth in the agency and each agency’s schools;

(bb)

assessing the extent to which each local educational agency’s existing system demonstrates meaningful differentiation among teacher performance levels and among principal performance levels;

(cc)

comparing implementation and results across the evaluation systems of local educational agencies in the State 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); and

(dd)

assessing the extent to which each local educational agency is using its evaluation system to inform major human resource systems; and

(II)

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.

(vi)

An assurance that beginning 1 year after the date of enactment of the STELLAR Act, the State educational agency will submit to the Secretary an annual report on implementation of the State’s evaluation programs.

(vii)

An assurance that the State will publish a report each year showing the average estimate of teacher impact on student growth for each of the performance categories.

(viii)

An assurance that the State is seeking input from teachers and principals on the effectiveness of methods measuring student growth and how to improve such methods.

(ix)

An assurance that processes and procedures are established to ensure fairness for nonprobationary teachers and principals facing loss of employment due to an ineffective rating in an evaluation program.

(B)

Requirements for teacher evaluations

The evaluation of a teacher’s performance shall comply with the following minimum requirements:

(i)

Student academic growth

A significant factor of the evaluation is based on student academic growth with respect to the State’s academic standards, as measured by—

(I)

in predominant part, 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 subject area for which the assessment is administered;

(II)

at least one other valid and reliable measure of student academic achievement that is used consistently across the local educational agency in which the teacher is employed for the grade or subject area being measured; and

(III)

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 more than 1 trained and objective observer—

(I)

that take place on several occasions during the school year in which 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 definition of teacher and principal effectiveness as specified in clause (i); 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, for secondary schools, for all teachers within a grade level and 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

A significant factor of the evaluation is based on student academic growth attainment 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)

Graduation rates

For a principal of a secondary school, a portion of the evaluation is based on improvements in the school’s graduation rate as defined in section 200.19(b) of title 34, Code of Federal Regulations as in effect on the date of enactment of this paragraph, when applicable, or in the case of a secondary school with a graduation rate of more than 90 percent, the success of the principal in maintaining such graduation rate.

(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)

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.

(vi)

Meaningful differentiation

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

(vii)

Comparability of results

The evaluation provides results that are comparable across all principals within the local educational agency in which the principal is employed.

.

(b)

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 in the bottom 2 performance levels after teachers.

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 established under clause (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 established under clause (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 established under clause (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 a semicolon; 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

(I)

the overall student attendance rates, including truancy, graduation, and dropout rates, disaggregated by each school and each individual teacher and individual principal at each school under the jurisdiction of—

(i)

the State educational agency;

(ii)

the highest poverty and lowest poverty local educational agencies;

(iii)

the highest minority and lowest minority local educational agencies; and

(iv)

each local education agency, including the highest and lowest poverty schools and the highest minority and lowest minority schools under the jurisdiction of the agency.

; 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 minority students served.

(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 minority students served.

(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.

.

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))

(1)

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; and

(2)

establish a clearinghouse in the Department of Education to share the best practices of such programs with educators.