Florida teachers upset with new evaluation system

5:11 PM, Nov 20, 2012   |    comments
Third grade teacher Margaret Goodwin of Westgate Elementary in St. Petersburg says the new evaluation system for Florida teachers is demoralizing and unfair.
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Tallahassee, Florida - Florida teachers are upset with a new state evaluation system that they say is unfair, untested and produces bogus conclusions about performance.

It's called the Value-Added Model. It uses students' test scores to evaluate a teacher's effectiveness.

But the Florida Education Association says the model is unfairly lowering evaluations for top-notch teachers.

Third grade teacher Margaret Goodwin of Westgate Elementary in St. Petersburg says the model hurt her latest evaluation. She's taught at Westgate since 1973, has a master's degree, and has always received high evaluations.

But even after her superiors rated her highly effective, the Value-Added Model lumped in students she did not teach, and her score plunged.

Goodwin calls that demoralizing.

"The Value-Added Model negated all of that and put my overall evaluation as 'Needs Improvement.' This VAM is not a formula for identifying effective teaching. It is part of a flawed evaluation system that is demoralizing and it's unfair to the very teachers who are caring and hard-working professionals."

Florida Education Association President Andy Ford says the model needs some serious reworking.

"It is a clearly flawed process that needs much tweaking and revamping before teachers and parents can trust the validity of the Value-Added Model."

There's a lot at stake for teachers with this new evaluation system because it will help determine their salary and even whether they keep their jobs in the future.

Ford is calling on Gov. Scott to dump the Value-Added Model until it's revamped. Ford is also encouraging teachers to call and email the governor to express their frustrations with the new evaluation system.

Dave Heller

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