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Teachers want to implement the provisions of the Illinois Performance Evaluation Reform Act (PERA) on an expedited basis, rather than implement the teacher evaluation model prepared by administrators of School District 65, said Jean Luft, president of the District Educators Council (DEC, the District 65 teachers union), at the School Board’s meeting on Nov. 5.

PERA requires each school district “in good faith cooperation with its teachers,” to “incorporate the use of data and indicators on student growth as a significant factor in rating teaching performance” in the evaluation plan. Under PERA, School District 65 must implement an evaluation plan that includes student growth by Sept. 1, 2016. The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) has adopted regulations that specify in broad terms the required components of an evaluation plan.

Under PERA, school districts must establish a joint committee comprised of an equal number of persons selected by the District and its teachers to work out an evaluation plan that incorporates student growth in accordance with ISBE’s regulations. If the joint committee does not agree on an evaluation plan within 180 days of the date it starts discussions on the plan under PERA, then the “district shall implement the model evaluation plan” that is established by ISBE. ISBE has not yet adopted a model teacher evaluation plan.  

PERA thus contemplates that District administrators and teachers will collaborate in good faith and agree on an evaluation plan that includes student growth. If they cannot agree, the ISBE model kicks in.

Under an amendment to PERA that became effective last year, a school district and the executive bargaining representative of its teachers “may jointly agree in writing to an earlier implementation date [than Sept. 1 2016], provided that such date must not be earlier than September 1, 2013.

DEC appears to acknowledge that District 65 may implement a teacher evaluation plan at this time that is not adopted in accordance with the procedures  of PERA. They urge, though, that the District should follow the spirit of PERA and collaborate with teachers in adopting an evaluation plan.