Bush Foundation Wants Another Bill to Fix SB 736….Seriously

I’ve always wondered how many of Florida’s 67 district school superintendents roll their eyes when getting an email from non-educator, Patricia Levesque,  who is Jeb Bush’s top policy wonk. Well they got another one this week. She apparently thinks that all SB 736 needs is just a little tweak. And oh, just a little more time. From Jeff Solochek of the Tampa Bay Times:

Patricia Levesque, executive director of Jeb Bush’s education foundation and a key voice in state education legislation, meanwhile, is floating a draft bill that would alter the evaluation system, too. She sent an e-mail to superintendents last week seeking input.

“We believe that a missing/key element in Florida’s evaluation law is having peer teacher review and/or student feedback in the evaluation process,” she wrote. “We are also concerned with the timeline for districts to implement evaluations with data for teachers in the non-state tested areas. … Would you be supportive of a legislative change to provide districts with the ‘option’ to reduce the percentage that data counts from 50% to 40% if the district uses peer review or student surveys in other portion of the data? Would you be supportive of a legislative change to delay the start date for districts to develop and use district level assessments in teacher evaluations in subjects or grade levels not tested by state exams to 2015-16?”

So now Levesque wants input from stakeholders? Or is she just being coy? Perhaps Levesque is fishing for political cover from the state’s superintendents to help save her and her boss from the train wreck to which they fired the coal?

Levesque’s transparent letter to the same superintendents she and her boss have been snubbing is desperate political grandstanding. During a December 13 state school board meeting, Bush board appointee A.K. Desai said that the recent roll-outs of faulty data were “making us look incompetent.”  Levesque is a political hack and this email was pure politics. It represents the second signal in the last week that the Bush-led cabal knows they have a major “Houston, we have a problem,” problem on their hands.


About Bob Sikes

A long time ago and a planet far, far away I was an athletic trainer for the New York Mets. I was blessed to be part of the now legendary 1986 World Series Championship. My late father told me that I'd one day be thankful I had that degree in teaching from Florida State University. He was right and I became twice blesses to become a teacher in the late 1990's. After dabbling with writing about the Mets and then politics, I settled on education.
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6 Responses to Bush Foundation Wants Another Bill to Fix SB 736….Seriously

  1. I am pretty popular with my kids but the day the power-that-be let them evaluate me will be my last day teaching.

  2. Right…Patricia Levesque cares about fairness. And reducing the percentage to 40% is such a huge change, when teachers are still being evaluated based on flawed tests in subject areas they don’t even teach and in many cases, students they don’t teach. The law needs to be overturned. Period. It was one big reason I left teaching and many more will follow as the economy improves.

  3. As for student feedback, I am not totally against this as long as the percentage is very minimal and as long as the surveys are thorough and conducted the right way. I used to give my students course evaluations every year, and I found that they were overwhelmingly (and surprisingly) fair. Yes, a failing student here and there would be hyper-critical of the material and my teaching style, but I would say that at least 95% answered my (anonymous, no-handwriting-required) surveys very honestly, including taking the blame for their failure in my class. They admitted to not doing their homework and said that I was enthusiastic, fair and cared about them and their success. I asked many detailed questions including what grade they expected to get, why they thought that was their grade, etc. I think people sometimes underestimate kids’ ability and willingness to answer surveys like that responsibly.

    All of which is NOT to say I think student evaluations should receive a large amount of importance in evaluating teachers. But I think it’s fair to say that if a majority of kids are saying the same thing, it is probably true. You have to look at the surveys holistically, not individually, and they will come out pretty accurate.

  4. stlgretchen says:

    I pity students caught in this crossfire. You know, education reform is NEVER about the kids, is it?

  5. Pingback: Bush Foundation Wants Another Bill To Fix SB 736….Seriously | FPEP Blog

  6. Pingback: Skepticism for SB736 in the Florida Senate | FPEP Blog

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