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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.

Read original article: http://bobsidlethoughtsandmusings.wordpress.com/2013/03/13/court-ruling-puts-part-of-parent-trigger-at-risk/

Posted in Contributors, Education, Scathing Purple MusingComments (0)

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Skepticism for SB736 in the Florida Senate

Skepticism Over SB 736

January 24, 2013

By: Bob Sikes – Scathing Purple Musings

Rick Scott told FOX News host Neil Cavuto after SB736 was past, “It’s going to be great.”

Not so much. Changes are already being considered. Bush Foundation CEO Patricia Levesque wants to add student surveys into the calculus and is floating the idea around. Senate Education chairman John Legg has said his committee will be considering changes to the bill. The committee’s vice chair was more poignant. This from Travis Pillow in theTallahassee Democrat:

State Sen. Bill Montford, a Democrat from Tallahassee, has a broader range of concerns with the law.

He said placing new teachers on one-year contracts for the rest of their careers undermines their job security and could make it more difficult to attract new people to the teaching profession.

“The damage it’s doing we won’t see until five, six years down the road, when we don’t have the good qualified applicants coming into teaching,” Montford told the gathering of school administrators.

People may not take jobs in education for the money, he said, but “there’s limit to how far people will sacrifice.”

This is at odds with something else Scott said after SB736 was passed. More from Pillow:

“We must recruit and retain the best people to make sure every classroom in Florida has a highly effective teacher,” Scott said in a statement after signing the bill at a Jacksonville charter school.

Just how much Scott has become embarrassed about all this is unclear. It turned out that the KIPP charter school he signed the bill earned an F. The chairman of that KIPP school, Gary Chartrand, was named by Scott to the Florida Board of Education. Chartrand now is state board chairman. The first roll-out of SB736 this year turned out to be another disaster. The hearings in Legg’s and Montford’s committee will provide more fireworks.

Meanwhile a legal challenge to SB736 is underway in a Tallahassee courtroom.

Read original article: http://bobsidlethoughtsandmusings.wordpress.com/2013/01/19/skepticism-for-sb736-in-the-florida-senate/

Posted in Contributors, Education, Scathing Purple MusingComments (0)

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