The Board of Education has unanimously approved three policies aimed at moving teachers and principals to a performance-management system.
The vote this afternoon came after Gov. Neil Abercrombie made his first appearance before the board, to testify in support of the policies.
The policies provide "a framework and strategic direction" for the Department of Education as it moves forward on teacher and principal evaluations that take into account student growth, Abercrombie said.
"The people of Hawaii expect this board to be able to act without regard to political nuances," he told the BOE.
The policies had been previously approved by the board, but were being amended to reflect tweaks made after the BOE consulted with unions.
While the vote was largely procedural — there was never an expectation that they wouldn’t be approved — it took on new importance following the defeat last week of proposed legislation aimed at mandating a performance management system for teachers.
The teachers union has opposed the push to require — in law or BOE policy — a move to revamped teacher evaluations that will be tied to such things as tenure and pay.
Al Nagasako, Hawaii State Teachers Association executive director, told the board today that the policies would "put the cart before the horse."
"Give us an opportunity to work it out through our contract and we’d be more than happy to support the policy," he said.
The policies approved today are:
>> Board policy 2055, which requires the DOE to establish teacher and principal evaluation systems based in part on student growth. By the 2013-14 school year, all teachers and principals will be evaluated under the new system.
>> Board policy 5200, which requires that the new evaluation system be tied to merit pay, and that "highly effective" teachers be eligible for financial recognition.
>> Board policy 5100, which lengthens the time it takes to earn tenure and says probationary teachers cannot earn tenure until be rated "effective" for at least two years.