From Tampa Bay Times reporters Curtis Krueger and Lisa Gartner:
The School Board unanimously voted on Tuesday to tweak the system Pinellas uses to evaluate teachers — but that doesn’t mean members are happy.
“We are building on a very flawed and invalid system,” board member Linda Lerner said. “I’m voting for this because I think it’s a little better — not because it improves what we have to work with.”
The Florida Legislature required most school systems this year to radically transform how they evaluate teachers, relying on a complicated measure of teacher performance called the “value added measure,” or VAM.
But the plan has come under fire, because many teachers are evaluated based on the performance of students who aren’t even in their classrooms. In such cases, “They’re being rated based on students they have no interaction or contact with, so they have no involvement in their learning. But we’re holding them accountable for that,” said board member Rene Flowers.
The clear divide that exists between Tallahassee lawmakers and the state’s 67 school boards continues to grow larger.
The state’s association of school board members like Lerner and Flowers passed a resolution on high-stakes tests last summer. Now with a year of SB 736 digested, local school boards are finding Rick Scott’s rigid teacher evaluation system untenable, too. What a frightening combination: Tests which mean too much coupled with a “flawed and invalid” teacher evaluation system which relies on tests.