Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pinellas School Board members approve changes to "flawed system" of teacher evaluation

The School Board unanimously voted on Tuesday to tweak the system Pinellas uses to evaluate teachers — but that doesn't mean members are happy.

"We are building on a very flawed and invalid system," board member Linda Lerner said. "I'm voting for this because I think it's a little better — not because it improves what we have to work with."

The Florida Legislature required most school systems this year to radically transform how they evaluate teachers, relying on a complicated measure of teacher performance called the "value added measure," or VAM.

But the plan has come under fire, because many teachers are evaluated based on the performance of students who aren't even in their classrooms. In such cases, "They're being rated based on students they have no interaction or contact with, so they have no involvement in their learning. But we're holding them accountable for that," said board member Rene Flowers.

Using the new teacher evaluation system, about 77.9 percent of Pinellas teachers were rated as effective or highly effective, and the rest fell into three other categories: needs improvement, developing, or unsatisfactory.

After making the adjustments in the evaluation scale, about 90 percent will be considered effective or highly effective and the remainder will fall into the three lower categories.

Although the state required school boards to use the new evaluation tool, individual school systems are allowed to essentially set their own grading scale for their teachers. The School Board's vote on Tuesday made some changes in that scale, based on input from teachers and administrators who studied the issue.

"I don't think we're there yet but I think it's all we can do at this point, and I'm glad we're doing that," board member Peggy O'Shea said.

In the current version of the evaluation system, student scores on the FCAT standardized test play a major role. But in the future, a new system of standardized tests will mean more teachers can be evaluated based on the performance of their own students.

Pinellas School Board members approve changes to "flawed system" of teacher evaluation 01/15/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, January 15, 2013 5:54pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. In advertising, marketing diversity needs a boost in Tampa Bay, nationally


    TAMPA — Trimeka Benjamin was focused on a career in broadcast journalism when she entered Bethune-Cookman University.

    From left, Swim Digital marketing owner Trimeka Benjamin discusses the broad lack of diversity in advertising and marketing with 22 Squared copywriter Luke Sokolewicz, University of Tampa advertising/PR professor Jennifer Whelihan, Rumbo creative director George Zwierko and Nancy Vaughn of the White Book Agency. The group recently met at The Bunker in Ybor City.
  2. Kushner to testify before two intelligence committees


    WASHINGTON— President Donald Trump's senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner is set to make a second appearance on Capitol Hill — he will speak with the House Intelligence Committee on Tuesday, one day after he is scheduled to speak with Senate Intelligence Committee investigators behind closed doors.

    White House senior adviser Jared Kushner is scheduled to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee and the House Intelligence Committee. [Associated Press]
  3. Rays blow lead in ninth, lose in 10 to Rangers (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Rays manager Kevin Cash liked the way Alex Cobb was competing Friday night. He liked the way the hard contact made by the Rangers batters went away after the second or third inning. So as the game headed toward the ninth, there was no doubt in Cash's mind that sending Cobb back to the mound was …

    Rays starter Alex Cobb can hardly believe what just happened as he leaves the game in the ninth after allowing a leadoff double then a tying two-run homer to the Rangers’ Shin-Soo Choo.
  4. Exhumation of Dalí's remains finds his mustache still intact


    FIGUERES, Spain — Forensic experts in Spain have removed hair, nails and two long bones from Salvador Dalí's embalmed remains to aid a court-ordered paternity test that may enable a woman who says she is the surrealist artist's daughter to claim part of Dalí's vast estate.

    Salvador Dal? died in 1989 leaving vast estate.
  5. Sessions discussed Trump campaign-related matters with Russian ambassador, U.S. intelligence intercepts show


    WASHINGTON — Russia's ambassador to Washington told his superiors in Moscow that he discussed campaign-related matters, including policy issues important to Moscow, with Jeff Sessions during the 2016 presidential race, contrary to public assertions by the embattled attorney general, current and former U.S. …

    Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the Russia investigation after meetings with an ambassador were revealed.