Bills to change Florida teacher evaluations move ahead
Florida teachers have complained loudly that new performance evaluations required by the state can't be fair when they hold teachers accountable for the academic performance of students they don't teach.
On Thursday, committees in the state House and Senate approved similar bills that would change the rules.
Both HB 7141 and SB 980 clarify that, while the state still wants teachers evaluated using student outcomes, those evaluations should consider only the students whom the teachers actually instruct. Nonclassroom instructional employees would get the same consideration. The bills are not identical, but they seek the same end.
And they won strong bipartisan support in both the House Education Committee and the Senate Education Appropriations subcommittee.
House Democratic Deputy Whip Joe Saunders of Orlando praised the leadership for "really listening" to the concerns that had been raised on this important issue. "It really matters," Saunders said before voting for HB 7141. "It gives me much more confidence in the performance evaluation system."
House sponsor Rep. Janet Adkins said she's simply trying to get to the fairness that the teachers have asked for.
"It is not right that teachers are being evaluated based on students they do not teach," Adkins said.
Senate bill has two more committees of reference. The House bill's next stop is the floor.