Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pasco schools not equipped for new teacher evaluation system

While the legal battle is under way over a controversial 2011 state law that bases teacher evaluations and pay on student test scores, the Pasco school district is looking at what it would take to implement the law.

One of the key issues is adopting student exams in each subject that would be tied to teacher evaluations. On that front, officials say, the Pasco school district is far from ready for the 2015-16 state deadline.

"Pasco County has over 300 courses that need an assessment to be developed under the mandate of SB 736 without adequate time, money, buy-in, capacity/expertise, technical infrastructure to insure quality of test development, test security, administration, scoring, analysis (and) reporting," assistant superintendent for student achievement Amelia Van Name Larson wrote in a recent email to superintendent Kurt Browning.

She was responding to a query from Patricia Levesque, executive director of Jeb Bush's Foundation for Florida's Future, as to whether districts would support a legislative delay to allow for more time to create and adopt such tests. Pasco was among a handful of districts, including Duval, Broward, Miami-Dade and Hillsborough, to hear from Levesque.

Van Name Larson noted that several Florida-approved courses do not have standards or descriptions that lend themselves to writing valid tests. Moreover, she said, Pasco and many other school districts do not have employees with the necessary expertise to develop such tests. Nor do they have the funding to provide the training employees would need.

"There is a definite lack of financial resources to develop valid and reliable tests, create multiple test forms, pilot items and set cut scores for each high-stakes test," Van Name Larson wrote.

Lawyers for the Florida Education Association argued in a Tallahassee court this week that the 2011 law should be overturned. The law links teacher evaluations to students' test results, which will then be used to determine salary increases and employment decisions.

The FEA argued that teacher compensation is subject to collective bargaining and that the new law required school boards to unilaterally set up a new salary schedule.

The Leon County circuit judge who heard the challenge has not indicated when he might rule.

In the meantime, districts are proceeding under the new evaluation system.

So far, most have used FCAT results to rate teacher effectiveness, imposing schoolwide results for those who don't teach FCAT-related courses.

The model has been criticized as unfair and statistically unreliable.

Lawmakers have said they would be open to tweaking the system, or postponing full implementation, though probably not doing away with it altogether, unless the court says otherwise.

So far, two bills (HB 197, HB 225) have been filed to revise the use of test results in teacher evaluations.

This report contains information from the Sun-Sentinel.

Pasco schools not equipped for new teacher evaluation system 01/17/13 [Last modified: Thursday, January 17, 2013 6:34pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Michael Connelly's 'Two Kinds of Truth' is Bosch at his best


    Harry Bosch's office is a long way from his former desk in the Los Angeles Police Department's elite robbery-homicide squad.

  2. Local craft beer of the week: Malt liquor? Yes — 3 Daughters Brewing's Ctrl + Malt + Del

    Bars & Spirits

    In 2004, Delaware's Dogfish Head Brewery was well into the process of making a name for itself through envelope-pushing beers, like 120-Minute IPA and World Wide Stout, brews notorious for their astronomical alcohol content.

    Photo by Justin Grant
  3. History rewrite: What if Dalvin Cook, Lamar Jackson had landed at Florida?


    Two days before suiting up in the Under Armour All-America Game at Tropicana Field, Dalvin Cook announced a change of heart.

     Florida State Seminoles running back Dalvin Cook (4) on a run in the first quarter of the game between the Florida State Seminoles and the Florida Gators at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee, Fla. on Saturday, Nov. 26, 2016.
  4. He sings, he acts, he ministers -- Meet Heanon Tate


    God gives every person unique talents to use them, says Heanon Tate, pastor of Force of Life Church in North Tampa.

    Heanon Tate, pastor of Force of Life Church in North Tampa.  Tate, 46, is a musician, actor, athlete and minister. He has appeared off Broadway and in television shows including Army Wives (in which he had a reoccurring role) and Homeland.