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Oklahoma state schools Superintendent Janet Barresi asks for more time for teacher evaluation

BY CARRIE COPPERNOLL Published: March 21, 2013

The state schools superintendent is asking lawmakers for extra time to implement a new teacher evaluation system.

Janet Barresi has asked for an extra two years to finish putting together the Teacher and Leader Effectiveness system, which would tie teacher pay, tenure and employment to measures such as student test grades and administrator observations.

Barresi's chief of staff, Joel Robison, said many details have yet to be worked out for a system that is set to go into effect in the fall.

“This is very difficult work with very high stakes,” Robison said. “We just want to make sure that we do everything that we can do, get all the information we can get, get as much input as we can, to make sure when the system is implemented, it is implemented correctly.”

Sen. John Ford and Rep. Earl Sears, who authored the original reform, were already asking their fellow legislators to give the agency an extra year. Now they're amending Senate Bill 426 to ask for a two-year delay.

Sears said he's willing to give Barresi and the state Education Department more time.

“This is such a major change,” said Sears, R-Bartlesville. “Let's get it right the first time.”

Ford said he's heard from educators and superintendents that the process should slow down so it's done correctly. Input from educators throughout the state is vital, he said.

“It's got to be something we all have input in and buy into,” said Ford, R-Bartlesville.

Teacher and Leader Effectiveness will be the first statewide teacher evaluation system.

Now, teacher evaluation systems are set by local districts or school principals. Most often, teachers are given raises based on their education and years of employment.

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