New FLDOE Test Scoring Calculations “Has Potential to Dismantle Public Education”

FLDOE researcher Kathy Hebda has testified before the Florida legislature and the state Board of Education that data that was acquired by the SB736  guidelines was valid and measured what was intended. Meanwhile,  Jeb Bush’s Foundation for Excellence in Education has taken Hebda’s numbers and run with it. In a blog post yesterday, National Policy Director Mary Laura Bragg went this far:

The student performance portion of a teacher’s evaluation is based on whether or not students learned something in the classroom that year.

A few weeks ago, the Florida Department of Education released data showing:

  • A teacher with a classroom of gifted students does not have an advantage over a teacher with a classroom of students with disabilities.
  • A teacher with a classroom of affluent students does not have an advantage over a teacher with a classroom of low-income students.
  • The same goes for non-native and native speaking students, white and non-white students, students on grade level and students three grade levels behind.

In other words…wait for it…kids are just kids. It doesn’t matter one bit – zilch, nada, null set – what your class of students looks like; every teacher is starting from the exact same place when it comes to being evaluated on the performance of their students.

The propaganda campaign is obviously underway. The first push-back came yesterday from Seminole county. Orlando Sentinel reporters Leslie Postal and Dave Weber have this:

Seminole County schools are among the highest performing in the state. Yet hundreds of Seminole teachers could end up with poor job reviews next year under Florida’s proposed system for calculating teacher evaluations.

An analysis by Seminole officials suggests that teachers across Florida could find good evaluations — and job security — harder to come by once the state finalizes its system for crunching student test score data to judge teacher quality.

That’s fine with many state leaders who have questioned how some teachers could earn good yearly reviews while their students struggle to meet Florida’s academic standards.

But many local educators are worried about the new evaluation system, and Seminole administrators were alarmed when they ran their data showing how their teachers would score under the new state yardstick.

“This has the potential to dismantle public education,” said Seminole Superintendent Walt Griffin. “This is not fair to our teachers.”

Seminole’s data shows the number of teachers falling into the two lowest evaluation categories of “needs improvement” and “unsatisfactory” would jump from fewer than 1 in 100 this year to more than 1 in 7 next year.

Officials worry hundreds of the district’s 4,300 teachers could lose their jobs within several years.

That is based on a new standard for calculating test-score data that the Florida Department of Education is now hammering out, as demanded by the state’s 2011 merit pay law. Read the rest here.

Bragg’s tone is shrill and desperate. Hebda’s sweeping conclusions were an attempt to justify SB 736’s calculus, VAM and merit pay. Such an astonishing validation has never been proposed. Perhaps Hebda is auditioning for her next gig with Bush foundation or the equivalent. Like the well-healed path from Wall Street to Washington, similar routes are available to the those in what’s become the industrial education complex.




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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