Teachers' panel:Good Evaluation Can't Be Rushed; Value-Added System Can Use Student Scores to Rate Teaching Performance

Article excerpt

Byline: Topher Sanders

About 100 educators and education advocates heard more about the future of how teachers will be evaluated during a panel discussion Wednesday.

Jacksonville Public Education Fund and the United Way of Northeast Florida sponsored the New Frontiers in Teacher Evaluation event at the Main Library.

The discussion centered on the value-added concept, which compares students' standardized test scores in the beginning of a school year to a students' scores at the end of the school year to rate a teacher's performance.

Rick Hess, the event's keynote speaker and director of education policy studies for the American Enterprise Institute, said value-added has been inflated by advocates and demonized by detractors but can have a place in education reform.

"The fact that we want to try to rethink how we are evaluating and rewarding teachers makes all the sense in the world to me," he said.

But Hess said too many reformers and lawmakers "bite off more than they can chew" by pushing reforms too quickly and too aggressively.

Hess said Tuesday during a phone interview that the Florida Senate proposal to make value-added 50 percent of a teacher's evaluation was too much. He didn't propose an alternative percentage but said the proposal needs more thought.

The panel discussion featured Sarah Glover of the Harvard University Strategic Data Project, Katie Micek, an arts teacher from Jefferson County public schools in Colorado and Tracye Brown, director for communications for Hillsborough County public schools' Empowering Effective Teachers Initiative. …