(Tallahassee Democrat) Results of Florida teacher evaluations released last week gave most
teachers good marks, and showed the system is still a work in progress.
the coming months, lawmakers say they will wrestle with the question of
whether school districts have made enough progress - including finding
assessments for students in every grade and every subject - in time to
tie the new evaluations to teachers' pay and job security next school
push back the deadlines are getting louder. The Florida Association of
District School Superintendents has proposed phasing in the new system
over three years. Legislation filed by state Sen. Dwight Bullard,
D-Miami, would delay the state's performance-pay system for teachers.
Education Chairman John Legg, R-Lutz, said lawmakers would receive an
update early next year on school districts' progress developing new
exams to evaluate teachers in "hard-to-measure" subjects like physical
is a growing concern about the local exams being able to be out by the
time-frame," he said. "As a committee, we're open to looking at that."
Sen. Bill Montford, D-Tallahassee, is also the CEO of the
superintendents association. He said if lawmakers plan to make changes
before the new system takes full effect, they likely will have to make
them this session.
Behind the results
98 percent of teachers received evaluations that show they're
performing well, according to preliminary data released last week by the
Department of Education.
Leon County, nine out of 10 teachers were rated "highly effective,"
giving the school district Florida's largest proportion of teachers with
the highest possible rating.
Many teachers' evaluations were based on test scores from students in subjects they did not teach.
Clark, who has overseen both labor negotiations and Race to the Top
grants in Leon County, said for that reason, the district designed its
system to avoid penalizing teachers for the 40 percent of their
evaluations that are tied to student test scores, which helps explain
the initial results.
"I think, in the initial years, it was probably the inclination of
every school district to do something to cause no harm as they
implemented the new evaluation system," said David Worrell, the
president of the Leon Classroom Teachers Association.
this year, lawmakers passed SB 1664, requiring teachers' evaluations to
be based on their own students, in the subjects they teach.
Gregory, the district's director for testing and evaluation, said under
Leon County's new system, teachers whose students do not take courses
with assessments like the FCAT meet with their principals to set
learning objectives. Next year, the portion of their evaluations tied to
student learning growth will depend on how well they help their
students meet those objectives.
think the evaluation system is well-intended, but like all issues,
there's going to be some adjustments along the way. (SB) 1664 went a
significant way for those adjustments," Legg said.
Hundreds of new exams
said the new system has a drawback: Some teachers still receive
student-growth calculations that plug test scores into a complicated
formula intended to isolate teachers' effect on their student test
scores from factors like attendance. Others receive 40 percent of their
evaluations based on learning objectives.
differences are expected to be temporary. In the coming years, school
districts will be expected to obtain reliable test results for teachers
in every grade and subject.
means school district officials around the state need to vet hundreds
of assessments. Some of them may be developed in concert with other
districts or assistance from the state Department of Education. School
districts have banded together to develop test questions in
hard-to-measure courses like music and P.E.
said school districts are field-testing questions this school year.
Still, she said, with the deadline looming: "We have grave concerns
about our ability to meet this mandate."
The remaining 60 percent of teacher evaluations are based on classroom observations by school administrators.
said the more detailed feedback from administrators, combined with
increased training from the school district, has helped teachers hone
question, he said, is whether school districts will be able to sustain
those efforts over the coming years, which could require increased
financial support from the state.
think at some point, we would be ready to see what the impact of all
this improved instructional practice is on student growth," he said.
"But I don't think we're at the point where we can implement Common
Core, a new set of tests, and tie them to teacher evaluations and
performance pay - with all of that coming next year."
Travis Pillow, Florida Capital Bureau