Haslam’s first 2015 bill filings: teacher evaluation, driving the elderly and TN Promise patch

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A measure that adjusts the way Tennessee’s teachers are evaluated is one of several bills filed by the governor’s administration.

The proposals were filed on Thursday.

The one relating to teachers adjusts the weighting of student growth data in a teacher’s evaluation.

Currently, 35 percent of an educator’s evaluation is composed of student achievement data.

Gov. Bill Haslam wants new state assessments in English and math to count 10 percent of the overall evaluation in the first year of administration of the new tests in 2016, 20 percent the second year and 35 percent in year three.

Another measure filed Thursday encourages people to become volunteer drivers for the elderly by providing drivers with liability protection. Currently, Tennessee law only protects volunteer drivers who are serving through a government agency.

Note: The governor’s office distributed the caption of three administration bills on Thursday, along with bill numbers, naturally. Here’s the list as provided to media with links to bill text added:

SB 117/HB 106 – The first is the Protection of Volunteer-Insured Drivers of the Elderly (“PROVIDE”) Act, which encourages people to become volunteer drivers for the elderly by providing drivers with liability protection. Current Tennessee law protects volunteer drivers who are serving through a government agency. The PROVIDE Act extends driver protection to any person volunteering through a charitable organization or human service agency to provide transportation to senior citizens. If the volunteer is not acting in “good faith within the scope of his or her official actions and duties” or acts with “willful or wanton misconduct,” the liability protection will not apply. The proposal was recommended in a 2014 report by the Governor’s Task Force on Aging.

SB 118/HB 107 – This is a bill to make some technical corrections to the Tennessee Promise language that became evident during the program’s implementation. For example, the clarifying language will ensure that military students on leaves of absence for training are eligible to apply for the Tennessee Promise upon return. Also, the definition of “gift aid” will be amended to clarify that the calculation of last dollar does not include scholarships offered by the institution or other independent sources of financial aid like civic clubs and memorial scholarships. All the proposed changes are aligned with the intent of the original Tennessee Promise legislation passed in 2014.

SB 119/HB 108 – This adjusts and improves the state’s teacher evaluation laws and policies as the governor announced in December. As previously discussed, the governor’s proposal would:

• Adjust the weighting of student growth data in a teacher’s evaluation so that the new state assessments in ELA and math as well as social studies and science will count 10 percent of the overall evaluation in the first year of administration (2016), 20 percent in year two (2017) and 35 percent in year three (2018). Currently 35 percent of an educator’s evaluation is comprised of student achievement data based on student growth;
• Lower the weight of student achievement growth for teachers in non-tested grades and subjects from 25 percent to 15 percent;
• And make explicit local school district discretion in both the qualitative teacher evaluation model that is used for the observation portion of the evaluation as well as the specific weight student achievement growth in evaluations will play in personnel decisions made by the district.