Update, 3/5: Better late than never, I guess. At least Ritter has finally named members to his “educator effectiveness” panel, for whatever that’s worth.
I don’t mean to kick a man when he’s down, especially when he’s biked his way into the hospital with broken ribs. But it was quite the experience to open the virtual pages of the Denver Post this morning and read the lead editorial raking Governor Bill Ritter over the coals for his weak-kneed half-efforts at education reform:
The governor’s executive order was quite clear: Members of a panel who were to devise ways of linking teacher evaluations to student achievement were to meet on or before March 1.
They have not.
But don’t blame panel members. Gov. Bill Ritter hasn’t bothered to appoint them yet.
The foot-dragging is indefensible, and is further evidence, we think, of the Ritter administration’s unnecessary appeasement of the teachers union, which has never been a fan of these efforts.
How better to explain it? What’s sad is the council itself was agreed to as a halfway measure to appease the unions — part of the Ritter administration’s “consensus approach” to woo federal Race to the Top reform dollars. The council was created as a compromise instead of actually working to make a law that would factor student academic growth with teacher evaluations and tenure.
And now, as the Post‘s editors point out, he can’t even bother to appoint members to the council. Not even when federal education reform dollars from a Democratic administration are being bandied about. Sure, Colorado was named as one of the “Sweet 16” state finalists to win Race to the Top dough, but because of nonsense like this Colorado’s chances aren’t very good.
Or at least our chances should be a lot better. If the Race to the Top competition actually proves to be about promoting lasting, effective, student-friendly reforms, that is. But for Ritter to say he believes in Race to the Top, and to take three-fourths or more of a step away from real reform, well, it’s no wonder he’s not interested in running for re-election.