Board of Ed Approves New Teacher Licensing Rules

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Tennessee Board of Education has voted to approve contentious new rules on teacher licensure while delaying their implementation until 2015.

Many teachers oppose the changes because they tie licenses to student test data.

The Tennessee Education Association held a press conference on Wednesday to say it opposed incorporating the Tennessee Value-Added Assessment System (or TVAAS) data into license requirements.

Education association president Gera Summerford said teachers are concerned that flawed scores could cause qualified teachers to mistakenly lose their licenses, although the education department says there will be a way to appeal.

Currently, professional teaching licenses are renewed for 10 years without regard to effectiveness.

Under the proposal approved on Friday, a renewal would depend on 50 percent of value-added data. Teacher evaluation and tenure status currently rely on 35 percent of student test data.

At the board meeting, Chairman Fielding Rolston acknowledged that people disagree with the changes. He proposed approving the changes in order to give stakeholders an idea of the direction the board wants to go but delaying their implementation in order to give the board time to hear concerns and make changes.

Several board members opposed Rolston’s motion, saying they did not want to vote for a policy that contained elements they did not support.

Board member Janet Ayers said she was concerned about tying value-added data to licensure because the evaluations are still relatively new.

After extended discussion, the motion passed 6-3.

Note: See also Andrea Zelinski’s account, HERE. An excerpt:
On a chaotic conference call — interrupted every few moments by new callers, blasts of static noise and the howling of dog — the state’s Board of Education adopted marked changes to how teachers earn their licenses.

…Aspects of the new policy gave board member Mike Edwards, president and CEO of the Knoxville Chamber of Commerce, “heartburn,” he said. However, Edwards also said some of those changes may turn out as good policy and suggested information coming from the state’s main student data system over the next year could cause the data-driven crux of the new policy to sink or swim.