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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

How valuable are classroom teacher evaluations?

With at least one Hillsborough School Board member vocally criticizing that district's nationally watched teacher evaluation pilot project as "experimental," Hillsborough superintendent MaryEllen Elia has struck back with an op-ed piece praising the evaluations.

The initiative, which goes beyond just evaluations, is "educators working with educators for the benefit of children."

But is this push to increase the emphasis on evaluations based on test results and classroom observations, which extends well beyond Hillsborough County, really what's best?

Duval teachers are among those raising concerns, while their district leaders urge them to look at the system as a professional development tool, "and not as a punitive tool," the Florida Times-Union reports. And a new piece of research review from Indiana University further complicates the picture, as the writers assert that classroom observation measures are as imprecise, variable and controversial as value-added measures.

The review came as a counter to a Gates Foundation report touting the value of teacher evaluations. The Gates Foundation, of course, is the entity funding Hillsborough's pilot project.

As all this swirls, Florida's school districts continue to rush to complete teacher evaluations based on SB 736 requirements, even as they don't yet have the required test results or, in some cases, ratified contracts accepting new evaluation models. What's your take on the new evaluation system? Too much too soon? Better for teachers and students? Somewhere in between?

[Last modified: Wednesday, May 9, 2012 6:38am]

    

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