Politics & Government

Education committee approves statewide teacher evaluation system

FRANKFORT — House Bill 40, which authorizes a new statewide evaluation system for Kentucky public school teachers and principals, won unanimous approval Tuesday in the state House Education Committee.

The panel endorsed a committee substitute for House Bill 40 that shifts the start-up of the new system from the 2013-2014 school year to 2014-2015. Members also agreed to send HB 40 to the consent calendar.

Under the legislation, teachers would be evaluated on multiple measures, including how well their students are doing academically. But the weight of the students' performance has not been established.

The Kentucky Department of Education previously had committed itself to creating the new evaluation program to help Kentucky secure federal funding and receive a waiver from requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act.

Committee chairman Carl Rollins, D-Midway, the bill's sponsor, said HB 40 is intended to promote better instruction in Kentucky's public schools and is "not punitive" against teachers. A new system is needed to replace a "very subjective" evaluation in place now that varies from one school district to another, Rollins said.

The committee approved two other bills: House Bill 30 and House Bill 91.

House Bill 30 would allow local school districts to sell advertising space on their school buses. The bill's sponsor, Rep. Terry Mills, D-Lebanon, estimated that districts could make $1,000 a bus each year, money that he said "could go a long way" at a time when many schools are strapped for dollars. And House Bill 91 would require school boards to establish policies governing online use of school computers by students and employees.

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