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Union Questioning Florida Teacher Evaluation Plan

By: Associated Press; Lanetra Bennett Email
By: Associated Press; Lanetra Bennett Email

Tallahassee, FL, November 20, 2012 - A group of educators say the new evaluation system will drive away quality teachers.

"That's the formula that they used to determine test scores for teachers. It just doesn't make sense. It's a formula that's very complicated."

Complicated and inaccurate says President of the Florida Education Association Andy Ford.

He says using scores from this Value Added Model--or VAM-- as a part of teachers' evaluations is unfair.

Ford says, "The using of the test data now will have a real life effect when we implement fully the merit Pace System. Then you'll be determining whether teachers should be retained or whether they should be terminated based on a flawed system. It just doesn't make sense that we're not going to be willing to stop and get it right."

Ford says for the first time, evaluations are based 50 percent on student test scores.

He says what's happening is there are kids that are not assigned to a teacher, yet their scores show up for that teacher.

For instance, if you're a K through 3 teacher, you don't give tests, so the fourth and fifth graders' scores are used to determine your evaluation.

Wakulla County High School teacher Missy Rudd says she teaches 12th, 10th, and 9th grades. But, says her VAM scores didn't include her 12 graders' test scores.

Rudd says, "I am concerned about the accuracy. It impacts all of our lives. An evaluation is about making our teachers better, making our students better."

A spokesperson from the Florida Department of Education says, “Florida’s value-added model provides an accurate comparison of statewide student learning growth for teachers of courses associated with FCAT. It is fair because it neither advantages or disadvantages teachers based on the context of the students, classrooms and schools where they teach.”


Associated Press Release

Tallahassee, Florida -- November 20, 2012

An administrative law judge's ruling has delayed but not stopped a new state teacher evaluation system.

The Florida Education Association is holding a news conference on Tuesday in Tallahassee to discuss its continuing fight against the proposal.

The statewide teachers union won the first round as a result of the administrative hearing decision, but the State Board of Education is redrafting a proposed rule.

The judge held the initial draft violated rule-making procedures. The revised version is expected to be ready for board approval in early 2013.

The rule is designed to implement a law passed last year that requires evaluation plans to include what's known as a value-added measure based on student test results.

Evaluations are used to determine which teachers are retained and which receive merit pay.


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