The Houston school board has taken a stance against a ballot initiative that would tie teacher evaluations to student performances.
Amendment 3 would require more than half of a teacher’s evaluation to be based on student academic outcomes, and it would allow districts to set a teacher’s pay based on how well his or her students perform. It would give districts more control over the terms of their contracts with teachers — allowing administrators to dismiss staff more easily. It would also prohibit districts from entering into contracts with certified staff that exceed three years.
But opponents say the measure would surrender control of school districts on the local level. Houston joined many districts across the state, including Raymondville last week, to adopt a resolution against Amendment 3.
The resolution was unanimously adopted during Tuesday’s school board meeting.
“Amendment 3 is bad for kids and bad for schools,” Houston Superintendent Scott Dill said.
Dill read the resolution, which was suggested by the Missouri School Boards Association, to the board. It said the amendment was “poorly drafted and deeply flawed proposal.”
“Our teachers are very carefully, but aggressively working on this,” Dill said. “We can’t use school resources or time to sway a political vote, but we absolutely have opinions and we are entitled to those. We are using our free time to make sure our voices are heard.”
The Teach Great organization supporting the amendment called off its campaign on Sept. 9, acknowledging that the measure wasn’t polling as well as they hoped. Political activist Rex Sinquefield had already donated $1.7 million to the group that led an initiative petition drive to qualify the measure for the ballot.
Dill said the announcement had no affect on the district’s stance.
“My concern is people will think this isn’t on the ballot,” he said. “It’s still on the ballot, and we need to get out and vote on this.”
Also at the meeting members:
-Heard an update from Dill related to new construction on campus. Dill said the cafeteria expansion is “in the dry” and should be completed in late October or early November.
-Considered a request from the City of Houston to partner in the Safe Routes to School sidewalk project. No action was taken.
-Were given reports related to facilities, safety and transportation.
-Approved changes in the handbook for the middle school.
-Heard a report from Roger Brallier, assistant elementary principal and district testing coordinator, regarding assessment data from the 2013-’14 school year.
-Were led in the pledge of allegiance by Houston Elementary School students who achieved perfect attendance last school year. Present were Miah Bressie, Kaleb McGiboney, Gracyn McNiell, Olivia Crites, Ben Steelman and Emily Weaver.
Amendment 3 is bad for kids and bad for schools.”