Feds will give states a break on implementing teacher evaluations

While seeking permission from the U.S. Department of Education to delay requiring school officials to use standardized test scores when evaluating teachers next school year, Connecticut education officials received some good news Friday.

Connecticut Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor received a letter from the federal agency informing him and other education chiefs that the federal government will grant some states more time to implement their teacher evaluation systems that are linked to student outcomes.

Many states promised to overhaul their teacher evaluation systems in return for a waiver to the stringent requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act.

“We recognize that some States also need to make targeted adjustments as they fully implement these systems, while not stopping progress or retreating on the goal of fully implementing teacher and leader evaluation and support systems,” Assistant U.S. Education Secretary Deborah S. Delisle wrote in her letter to state officials.

Connecticut’s new teacher evaluation system — it is among those using student test scores when evaluating teachers  — had been slated to begin next school year, but leaders earlier this year decided to ask the federal government to push that start date back.