During the last legislative session, the Connecticut General Assembly passed Public Act 12-116 titled, An Act Concerning Educational Reform. This 191 page Act effectively made many changes to Connecticut’s education statutes and among the most important are the changes it made to Section 10-151b of the Connecticut General Statutes, the teacher evaluation process.
The timeline for implementation of the teacher evaluation process has caused much confusion. The plain language of the Act leaves the timeline for state-wide implementation of the new teacher evaluation process very much a mystery. The amendments to Section 10-151b were effective July 1, 2012, and they provide simply that school superintendents must evaluate teachers annually in accordance with the guidelines for teacher and administrator evaluation adopted by the State Board of Education. Since the State Board of Education adopted the guidelines on June 27, 2012, read literally the amended law would require that evaluations in the current year be in accordance with the new guidelines. Conversely, one could infer that the new guidelines will be binding only after they are validated following the Neag study of the pilot (which is due by January 1, 2014). The State Department of Education, however, has chosen a middle ground. While select pilot districts are to implement either a State Department of Education model evaluation plan or a State-approved alternative during the 2012-2013 school year, the State has clarified that, beginning in the 2013-2014 school year, it will expect all school districts to conduct teacher evaluations in accordance with the new guidelines.
The State has also clarified that districts are now required to evaluate teachers annually. This change is currently in effect, and school districts are expected to be in compliance at this time.