Editorials: House should follow Senate’s lead, use student performance in teacher, principal evaluations

A couple of strong editorial statements on recovering the state’s lost No Child Left Behind waiver. (We wrote about it here.)

The News Tribune asks: Will House drop its cowardice, regain school funds? The paper notes that last year, spurred by opposition from the Washington Education Association, the state lost its waiver because it failed to incorporate student test scores in teacher and principal evaluations. This, even though the statewide tests could amount to as little as 1 percent of the evaluation. This year, the Senate acted to bring the state into compliance. The editorial closes:

now the House has a chance to demonstrate its loyalties. We don’t know yet where those loyalties lie, but we know where they belong: with kids from poor families, not union leaders with rich war chests.

Strong stuff. 

The Seattle Times also urges swift House action.

Most educators and lawmakers, state and federal, agree that reforming NCLB is the best solution, but that could take years to happen.

In the meantime, the House should take a cue from the Senate and give the teacher-evaluations bill full consideration instead of letting political ideologies and alliances come before the needs of students.

It’d be a shame to close this post without linking to this good news story about Rainier Beach High School

Tangled in bureaucracy and tradition, public schools need years — often the better part of a decade — for real turnaround, so skeptics may wave off the spike in graduation rates at Rainier Beach High as a mere blip.

Or ignore its ballooning enrollment.

Or shrug at the dozens of students on track to leave with college credit for advanced studies.

In the past two years, all of these things have happened at Seattle’s long-languishing South End school, and all trace back to the moment when Rainier Beach gambled on a rigorous curriculum with a fancy name and high-end pedigree: the International Baccalaureate.

Read it. Success stories are good for the soul.