Unusual alliance leads state Senate to reject teacher-evaluation change

The Seattle TimesFebruary 18, 2014 

Conservative Republican state senators joined with minority Democrats to defeat a teacher-evaluation bill Tuesday evening, dealing a rare defeat to the chamber’s majority leadership just as a key deadline passed.

Supporters of Senate Bill 5246 said its defeat could restrict local school districts’ flexibility to spend about $40 million in federal funding.

The proposal would require that statewide student tests be used as part of teacher and principal evaluations — a change federal officials said would be necessary for Washington to keep its waiver from some painful parts of the federal No Child Left Behind law.

It was unclear how the bill could be revived, since 5 p.m. Tuesday marked a deadline for non-budget-related legislation to make it out of at least one chamber of the Legislature. The teacher-evaluation bill was the last one the Senate considered before the cutoff.

“I thought we had it, but obviously we didn’t,” said state Sen. Bruce Dammeier, R-Puyallup, vice chair of the Senate education committee. “It’s very disappointing.”

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