SANTA FE – On a strongly bipartisan basis, the New Mexico Senate today passed legislation to develop a new system for evaluating teachers and principals that relies less heavily on students’ scores on controversial standardized tests. By a vote of 30-7, with both Democratic and Republican support, SB 34 was passed by the Senate.
The bill, sponsored by Sen. Howie Morales of Silver City, also was amended to include language offered by Republican Sen. Craig Brandt from the historic Senate override earlier in the day of the Governor’s veto of teacher sick days legislation. It now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration, where companion legislation has been approved.
“I am very pleased by the growing bipartisan support for this legislation to fix our teacher evaluation in New Mexico. We have highly effective educators who, because of the flawed evaluation, are being designated as minimally effective. We want to do the right thing by improving the way we evaluate teachers and principals. SB 34 will create a teacher evaluation that is fair and that uses more inputs and factors to arrive at balanced evaluation of teachers’ performance. Today we do not have a teacher evaluation in practice; the one we have in rule does not work for the people of our state. I hope that Gov Martinez will join Republicans and Democrats in the Senate, and sign this bill into law,” Sen. Morales said.
SB 34 would convene a council of 31 educators from across New Mexico to develop a new teacher and principal evaluation method beginning this summer. Eighty percent or more of the new tool will come from observation of teacher’s performance in the classroom. Twenty percent or less would rely on student test scores and other multiple measures. The new system would take effect in 2020.
Similar legislation sponsored by Sen. Morales in 2015 and passed by the Senate and House was vetoed by Gov. Martinez.