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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Florida Senate looks to tie teacher evaluations to actual results



Republican leaders in Tallahassee appear to be taking heed of complaints from across Florida that the teacher evaluations required two years ago are unfair, particularly for teachers who don't have courses with approved tests connected to them.

Since the Legislature that at least half a teacher's evaluation be based on student assessments, many school districts struggled to create a model that would take all teachers into account — particularly those whose areas weren't assessed, such as kindergarten. In several instances, the districts simply assigned those teachers a score based on school-wide test results. Many teachers decried the model, saying their evaluations were being made on students they had never taught.

The Senate Education Committee is proposing a stop to that. Using a bill filed by Sen. Anitere Flores, R-Miami, the committee leadership is proposing a substitute that would make clear a teacher's evaluation must be based on students he or she actually teaches. That includes evaluations for non-classroom teachers as well. The recommended language reads:

"(1) At least 50 percent of a classroom teacher’s performance evaluation shall be based on the student learning growth, or student achievement if student learning growth cannot be measured, that solely reflects such growth or achievement of the students assigned to that teacher, and the remaining portion shall be based on factors identified in district-determined, state-approved evaluation system plans.

"(2) The student performance data used in the performance evaluation of nonclassroom instructional personnel shall be based on student outcome data that reflects the actual contribution of such personnel to the performance of the students assigned to the individual in the individual’s areas of responsibility." (Boldfaced for emphasis)

To this point, such ideas have come primarily from Democrats in the Legislature. Watch the Senate Education Committee meet on Monday to see if the change gains traction.

While you're watching, you might also want to see how the committee gels on charter school issues. It's going to workshop all known charter school-related bills to see if it can come up with a single piece of legislation incorporating as many ideas as possible, rather than dealing with individual items that might end up contradicting one another on a piecemeal basis.

[Last modified: Friday, March 15, 2013 3:52pm]


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