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Olsen bill focuses on teacher assessment
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Assembly member Kristin Olsen (R-Modesto) recently introduced Assembly Bill 430, known as the Teacher Professional Growth Plan (TPGP), a program that is designed to revise the current Stull Act by allowing teachers to implement their own plans for professional growth throughout the school year.

“California has a tremendous amount of talent when it comes to educators. In order to retain that talent, we must foster an environment that allows teachers to grow and excel,” Olsen said. “By the same token, students deserve top-quality educational opportunities where they can study and learn from teachers who are maximizing their potential.”

The Stull Act was originally passed on July 20, 1971 and was intended to “establish a uniform system of evaluation and assessment of the performance of certified personnel within each school district of the State.” Certified employees must be evaluated on the progress of the students’ learning curve, their instructional strategies, and attention to the curriculum.

Olsen realized that though the Stull Act summarizes the need for evaluation, there are no strict implementations or teacher assessments. The Teacher Professional Growth Plan will complete the Stull Act in this sense, Olsen said, providing guidelines and categories for evaluation standards.

All plans are submitted for review and must incorporate a quality standard of teaching and self-assessment. As educational opportunities, studies, and concepts begin to become more transparent, teachers are expected to adapt to the newest learning curves for up to date teaching methods.

The Teaching Quality Standard states, “All teachers are expected to meet the Teaching Quality Standard throughout their careers. However, teaching practices will vary because each teaching situation is different and in constant change. Reasoned judgment must be used to determine whether the Teaching Quality Stand is being met in a given context.”

Olsen attempts to draw out this reasoning in her latest bill, which she believes should be molded based on region, individuality, and purpose.

“Teacher Professional Growth Plans will allow school governing boards the ability to create clear and flexible evaluation standards that best fit their local schools,” said Olsen. “Teachers should have the ability to have organized and meaningful reviews so that professional growth is tangible, not an elusive and arbitrary concept. At the same time, students will benefit academically from the professional growth of their teachers.”