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Court Ruling Puts Part of Parent Trigger at Risk

March 16, 2013

Provided to Florida Public Employees

By: Bob Sikes – Scathing Purple Musings

Within current parent trigger legislation is a provision which requires parents be notified if their child’s teacher has been rated as “ineffective” for two straight years. But a Tallahassee circuit court judge’s ruling yesterday raised doubts about using the value-added data which would make such determinations. Florida Times-Union reporter Topher Sanders has this:

A circuit judge in Tallahassee has ruled that Florida’s value-added teacher data is not a public record, but the Times-Union plans to appeal his decision in its lawsuit against the state.

Judge John Cooper on Monday signed the order presented by the Department of Education and the Florida Education Association, which had successfully argued that all materials that make up an evaluation are exempt for a year.

“We’re disappointed in the judge’s ruling, but not surprised,” Times-Union Editor Frank Denton said Tuesday. “We certainly will appeal and believe we will prevail at the higher level.”

Denton said the public has a right to the material and the paper has a responsibility to pursue the information.

The newspaper’s appeal will go to the 1st District Court of Appeal.

Mark Pudlow, spokesman for the state’s teachers union, referred the Times-Union to the union’s attorney, Ron Meyer, but his office was closed Tuesday evening

Because the value-added data is developed from an average of three years, Cooper’s order would mean the public would have access only to value-added data that’s at least four years old.

The Times-Union had argued that because the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test data used to calculate value-added figures is public, and the value-added formula is public, the result created when the state crunches the data for teachers should not be exempt.

Value-added is the difference between the learning growth a student makes in a teacher’s class and the statistical predicted learning growth the student should have earned based on previous performance. The state uses the most recent three years of data to develop a teacher’s average value-added score.

The value-added calculation is half of a teacher’s total evaluation. The other half comes from observations made by principals and other personnel.

Even Bill Gates, the most influential value-added proponent recommends it not be made public and it’s inclusion  in Parent Trigger is both odd and hasty. Even Florida proponents of using value-added data to rate teacher realize the current system is flawed and needs work. They know it’s not ready.

The legality of making teacher evaluation rankings public puts a key portion of Parent Trigger legislation at risk. The wisdom of including such stipulations in legislation intended to address the future of a school appeared disconnected in the first place. As their legislative colleagues understand that  value-added data from SB 736 isn’t ready for prime time, Parent Triggers sponsors, Sen. Kelli Stargel and Rep. Carlos Trujillo, would demonstrate significant acuity and goodwill in withdrawing this portion of the bill.

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Will FL politicians invest in our kids?

February 18, 2013

Received via Florida Public Employees e-mail February 13, 2013 from Fund Education Now


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Governor Scott’s proposed budget signals his funding priorities to the Florida Legislature.  We are pleased that he included $1.2 billion for public education to begin restoring the nearly $5 billion that has been slashed in recent years by politicians.

The fate of Governor Scott’s proposed budget depends entirely on the 2013 Florida Legislature which opens March 5th and ends on May 3rd.  Unfortunately, House and Senate politicians are under no obligation to act on the Governor’s suggestions.

Click here to tell Senate President Gaetz and Speaker of the House Weatherford to invest in our children and their schools.

Governor Scott now believes that investing in teachers and education is the key to Florida’s economic growth.  Every parent knows that actions speak louder than words.

Nearly six years ago the parents of Florida started this conversation as a way to hold politicians accountable. Our children are depending on us to keep it going. Scott’s effort to add funding and invest in our children and their public schools is an encouraging step.

Please contact Governor Scott to thank him for thinking of our children and their schools. Encourage him to keep his veto pen handy. Ask House Speaker Gaetz and Senate President Weatherford to use their leadership power to pass this $1.2 billion for public education in the final budget this May.

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