Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Critics Hit Teacher Evaluation System; 90 Percent of Duval Teachers Rated as 'Effective' or 'Highly Effective'

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Critics Hit Teacher Evaluation System; 90 Percent of Duval Teachers Rated as 'Effective' or 'Highly Effective'

Article excerpt

Byline: Topher Sanders

In Duval County Public Schools, 90 percent of the 8,400 teachers are effective or highly effective, according to the state's new evaluation system.

And in St. Johns County, the state's highest performing school district, an eye-popping 99.6 percent of its 1,880 teachers are either effective or highly effective.

That information is expected to be in the state's first report on teacher effectiveness under a new and controversial evaluation model anticipated to be released this week. (School officials in Baker, Clay and Nassau counties did not provide their data to the Times-Union.)

The report will likely be released next week.

The new evaluation system includes the state's first stab at a value-added model, which is the difference between the learning growth a student makes in a teacher's class and the statistical predicted learning growth the student should have earned based on previous performance.

The value-added calculation is half of a teacher's total evaluation. The other half comes from observations made by principals. Teachers are rated either highly effective, effective, needs improvement or unsatisfactory.

State and local teachers unions are opposed to the value-added portion of the evaluation model because, among other concerns, in many districts teachers of non-FCAT classes are forced to accept school-wide averages for their value-added score. The state is also acknowledging that there may be cases where teachers' value-added scores are inaccurate because they erroneously include or exclude students.

CONCERNS BY FEA

The Florida Education Association also took issue with the state releasing the final value-added numbers in late September, which made it difficult for districts to amend scores that needed revising. The group asked Gov. Rick Scott to suspend the system, which will be used to help determine teacher retention and merit pay when it's fully effective in three years.

"It has been the most disheartening week I have ever experienced," said Terrie Brady, president of Duval Teachers United. …

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