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New teacher performance scores could mislead parents
Monday, the Florida Department of Education released teacher grades based off what they are calling "Value Added Method". This is after a newspaper sued them for the records.
These grades are just one part of their evaluation. Many of the numbers come from students they didn't even teach. That's why teachers fought to keep them private but a court overruled that.
There are literally thousands of records to download and they are really confusing.
It's not as simple as a teacher will get a grade like an A,B, C or D. They are based off of a complicated calculation and when you see them, it's a bunch of numbers that don't make a lot of sense and in each district the numbers mean a different thing.
The president of the Escambia Education Association, Donna Harper says this measure has been one of the most controversial among teachers. She said, "They are very discouraged that the public is seeing them as someone who is not effective in classroom, while in the majority of the time, this is not the case."
Harper says the grade is just part of their evaluation and it's based off of FCAT scores. She says that means around 70 percent of the teachers in schools are graded on students they've never even taught.
"I took scores of children I've never seen, not been in my classroom and that's what my score is based on."
Harper fears parents will judge teachers before they really understand what the numbers mean. Rachel Stinson has two boys. She says just because the data is out there, it doesn't mean she will judge a teacher on a score that doesn't make sense. She said, "It's not fair, life is not fair unfortunately. They have to have some measure, but maybe find a different way. We need to have teachers and I think its scares teachers off and we need to have good teachers."
The teachers union says a bill is now in the State Senate that will reevaluate how they are graded.
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