Tag Archive | "Sun Sentinel"


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.

Original article: http://bobsidlethoughtsandmusings.wordpress.com/2013/01/09/big-florida-school-district-board-very-uncomfortable-with-teacher-evaluation-system/

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


Sun Sentinel to Tony Bennett: Don’t Position Yourself As An Ideologue

Tony Bennett

December 18, 2012

Originally published: December 16, 2012

By: Bob Sikes – Scathing Purple Musings

The editors of the Sun Sentinel have a bullet list of suggestions for incoming education commissioner Tony Bennett:

Seek to end the polarization. Listen hard to local school administrators, teachers and parents. Where it makes sense, be their champion. Solve problems. Don’t position yourself as an ideologue. Find common ground where we can all agree that change makes sense. Start there.

Don’t make change for the sake of change. Like Indiana, Florida jumps from reform to reform almost every year, sometimes rolling out new initiatives days before the new school year starts. Lay stable groundwork for sustained success.

For-profit education companies are spending a lot of money in Tallahassee, trying to get a bigger share of the state pie. While school choice is a good thing, especially for students not thriving in public schools, make sure these schools are held to similar standards — which at present, they are not.

Teacher unions similarly spend a lot of money in Tallahassee, trying to ensure a future for public education — something enshrined in our state constitution and strongly supported by citizens. While the unions sometimes protect teachers who have no business teaching, the vast majority of teachers care passionately about what they do. Stoke their spirit. Too often in recent years, it’s been beaten down.

 Be courageous in your dealings with Gov. Rick Scott, even though you’re our fourth commissioner in two years. The governor doesn’t know education like you do. Be a trusted adviser on whom he can count to lead.

Don’t cocoon yourself in Tallahassee. Know that Floridians will push back on top-down policies they don’t like. It’s why they passed a class-size amendment and recently rejected an amendment that would have let public funds flow to religious schools. And while Floridians want schools to be held accountable, don’t get them started on the problems with the FCAT.

Be an approachable leader who brings people together to make good things happen.

 For the sake of our kids and our future, all of Florida is counting on you.

Is there really any reason to go beyond the first one? Bennett’s already positioned himself as an ideologue. He didn’t receive Eli Broad’s $50,000 contribution for his Indiana campaign because his was some sort of pragmatic consensus maker. Why would anyone even believe that an ideological state board would hire anyone who wasn’t a true believer. The board’s desperate Tony Bennett decision will even deliver a final victory for Jeb Bush’s education reforms or end up like the New York Jets’ Tim Tebow experiment as a spectacular failure.

Original article: http://bobsidlethoughtsandmusings.wordpress.com/2012/12/16/sun-sentinel-to-tony-bennett-dont-position-yourself-as-an-ideologue/

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

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