Sunday, April 12, 2015
Florida really does not like teachers.
First senate bill 736 they took away Teacher’s work protections and put all the ones hired after 2011 on annual contracts where they could be dismissed at the end of the school year for any reason.
They then said half their evaluations (perhaps soon to be lowered to a third) would be based on a complicated mathematical formula called the Value Added Model or VAM. The National Education Policy Center, and the American Statistical Association among many others have said it is bad policy to evaluate teachers based on VAM scores.
This is highlighted by the fact that even children who receive a perfect test score can negatively affect a teacher’s evaluation. The Palm Beach Post reported: …it turns out that teachers’ evaluations can be hurt by students who earn perfect scores on Florida’s standardized tests.
The piece didn’t talk about the damage a near perfect or just a good score could have on teacher’s evaluations and remember since teachers are now year to year these scores can have both pay ramifications as Tallahassee has forced districts to develop merit pay options despite the lack of evidence that say they work, and employment ramifications as well.
Finally I will just add that Florida’s teachers are some of the lowest paid in the nation and the high stakes testing agenda that Florida employs has put both unbelievable pressure on teachers and practically killed creativity and innovation.The bottom line is we can’t continue to hammer and drive teachers out of the profession if we expect to have a top notch system, but maybe not having one is the point.