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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

How should Florida change its teacher evaluation system?



It's no big secret that Florida's teacher evaluation system hasn't made many people happy. Teachers have complained about the unfairness of the new method. Even state Senate president Don Gaetz has raised concerns about the value of a model that teachers barely understand. Education commissioner Tony Bennett has marching orders from the governor to make improvements to the evaluations.

But what should the changes look like? Several proposals have emerged in the Legislature, with more sure to come as the debate ensues in earnest. Here's a rundown of some of the ideas.

HB 907 — Filed by Karen Castor Dentel, a Democrat and a teacher, this bill would prevent teachers from being evaluated based on subjects or students they did not teach.

SB 980 — Filed by Anitere Flores, a Republican with ties to charter school education, this bill would allow districts to reduce the percentage that student test scores count toward teacher evaluations, so long as districts use multiple measures to review teacher performance.

HB 197 — Filed by Dwayne Taylor, a Democrat and a writer, this bill would eliminate the use of school-wide FCAT data to evaluate teachers of non-FCAT courses. An identical version is filed in the Senate.

HB 225 — Filed by Carl Zimmerman, a Democrat and a teacher, this bill would require the use of pre-tests and end-of-course exams to help determine student academic growth.

The bills are on their way to committees for review. We have heard teachers say they do not oppose accountability, but that they want it to be valid and fair. Which proposals might meet those criteria? What other ideas would you propose?

[Last modified: Thursday, February 21, 2013 8:44am]


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