(Indianapolis, Ind.) - Indiana’s public school teachers are likely to soon see their pay tied directly to student performance.
The state Senate voted 36-13 to send Senate Bill 1 to the governor’s desk. It’s another piece of Mitch Daniels’ education reform agenda to pass this session.
The merit pay bill will have teachers evaluated each year. Only teachers who rank in the top two of four categories would be eligible for pay raises, which those who rate towards the bottom of two categories would not be eligible for a raise.
According to the Associated Press, an internal Indiana Department of Education Survey found that 99 percent of Indiana teachers were rated as effective, but state Superintendent of Public Instruction Dr. Tony Bennett said the number is not an honest reflection because 25 percent of students do not pass the ISTEP+ test.
Local school districts will have control over the evaluation process, but it must include objective measures such as test scores.
“Teachers want to be recognized for their ability to drive student growth and school leaders need the freedom and flexibility to develop annual evaluation systems that address the needs of their unique student populations,” said Bennett. “This legislation hits a home-run on both fronts; excellence in the classroom will be rewarded and innovation at the local level will be encouraged.”
Supporters of the legislation argued that teachers should be rewarded for more than their seniority and the type of degrees they hold.
Under the bill, students would be protected from being placed with the same teacher for two consecutive years when that teacher is rated ineffective.
The bill would take effect next school year with the first evaluations being done in the 2012-2013 school year.