Barresi Blasts Evaluation Delay ; the U.S. Department of Education Will Allow Districts to Postpone the Implementation of Teacher Evaluations Based on Test Scores

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CUTLINES Critical . -State Superintendent Janet Barresi is criticizing a new move by the U.S. Department of Education as overly intrusive.

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan announced to state school chiefs this week that they could request a delay through 2016 on meeting requirements to use student test results to decide whether to keep or fire teachers.

But Barresi already worked with state lawmakers to push through legislation allowing much the same delay for Oklahoma school districts that need it and Gov. Mary Fallin has already signed that bill into law.

"This just shows again that federal bureaucrats in D.C. think they know what is best for Oklahoma children. Oklahomans know what is right for our children and that is an outstanding education system fueled by our state-generated education reforms," Barresi said in a written statement. "President Obama and the education establishment have caved into union bosses' demands to roll back critical reforms. ... We do not need the U.S. Department of Education, the education establishment or union bosses running our lives."

Approved by Fallin on May 29, Oklahoma Senate Bill 426 postpones for two years the full implementation of the Teacher Leader Effectiveness evaluation system.

Tulsa Public Schools leaders say they had to work very hard to ensure the delay wouldn't be mandatory for their district, on whose leadership and model the whole state's new evaluation system is based.

"The teacher associations in our state pushed hard for a two- year delay and Superintendent Barresi agreed. We had to work with various legislators and staffers to ensure we had an exception to the language in Senate Bill 426," said Jana Burk, executive director of the Tulsa district's teacher and leadership effectiveness initiative. …