Big Florida School District Board “Very Uncomfortable” With Teacher Evaluation System

January 21, 2013

Board members recognize the folly in making any sense of observation rubrics done principals at 187 schools.

Frank Barbieri, Palm Beach School Board Member

By; Bob Sikes – Scathing Purple Musings

From Karen Yi in the Sun Sentinel:

School officials in Palm Beach County say they’re still uneasy about the district’s new way of evaluating teachers.

They worry the system that kicked in last year and will be tied to teacher pay by 2014, is borderline punitive and could lead to unfair scores for teachers.

Board member Frank Barbieri said if 187 different principals at 187 different schools don’t score in the same way “a whole bunch of teachers will suffer for it.”

He urged district officials to make sure to put “safety checks along the way” as the district doesn’t have much of a choice but to forge ahead with the state-mandated system.

“I know we don’t have any choice and we have to do this,” said Barbieri.

Others worried the system’s emphasis on teacher strategies could snuff out innovation in the classroom.

“Not all of the measurements are appropriate to the lessons at the time of the evaluation,” said board member Karen Brill.  “I’m very uncomfortable with it.”

This year, the district did not allow any teacher to receive a rating below “effective” as it was the first year the system was implemented.

“The purpose of this is not a gotcha, this is for the development of a teacher,” said Superintendent Wayne Gent. “When we get to where we need to be, this will be more foolproof than what we had.”

Click here to read the district’s presentation on the teacher evaluation system

The Palm Beach School Board was one of the first to sign onto the Resolution on High-Stakes Testing. Their concern for the first run at the rigid observation guidelines of SB 736 certainly reflects this. Board members Frank Barbieri and Karen Brill already know that tests mean too much. T0 make sense of an elaborate observation rubric from multiple observers to make up the other half of a teacher’s evaluation must seem every bit as crazy to them as it does to anyone else who’s not in the legislature or at the Florida DOE.

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