Senate Bill 19 was signed by the governor Oct. 11 to clarify existing law regarding student test scores and teacher evaluations. Because a great deal of confusion continues to surround the legislation, we’ve compiled some frequently asked questions and answers to shed light on the matter.
Is it now legal to use student assessments as a component of teacher evaluations?
State law already requires the use of student assessment results in the evaluation of teachers, including the use of criterion-referenced tests as determined by local teachers and administrators. Many districts include student assessments as one component of evaluations and are using data to improve instruction, teacher effectiveness and student learning. Those evaluation processes must still be negotiated.
Should I be alarmed about the passage of SB 19?
Deletion of the “state firewall” language regarding student and teacher data systems does not impact state collective bargaining law or local bargaining agreements. The state does not evaluate teachers and this bill doesn’t create a statewide evaluation system.
Did CTA have a position on this bill?
CTA members reviewed the legislation, and CTA took a “watch” position based on the assumption that SB 19 was unnecessary, since teacher data and student data have always been linked at the district level. With changes in this bill, however, California is now eligible to apply for federal Race to the Top funds under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
What is CTA’s position when it comes to test scores and teacher evaluations?
CTA supports assessment protocols that measure teacher quality using multiple measures including teacher practices and teacher performance.
Does the state now have access to my personal information under the law?
No, the law provides additional protections for teachers, so their personal information will not be revealed. SB 19 guarantees that the state teacher data system (CALTIDES) does not include the names, Social Security numbers, home addresses, telephone numbers and e-mail addresses of individual teachers. It also states that teacher data shall not be used in violation of any federal or state law that is designed to protect an individual’s right to privacy or the confidentiality of an individual’s personal information.