Hernando educators excel
Jeff SchmuckerBROOKSVILLE - The state's new teacher evaluation method shows that 26 teachers in the Hernando County School district aren't quite meeting expectations on the job.
Published: December 6, 2012
Published: December 6, 2012
A majority of them, however, are highly rated, with slightly more than 15 percent earning the highest marks possible.
According to the results posted by the Florida Department of Education, 81 percent, or 1,545, of the 1,992 teachers evaluated, were graded as "effective" while 320, or 16.9 percent, were graded as "highly effective" — the highest evaluation a teacher can receive.
Twenty-six teachers, or 1.3 percent of those evaluated, were deemed to "need improvement." No teachers were determined to be "unsatisfactory," which is the lowest rating a teacher can achieve.
Of those who need improvement, 10 were those with fewer than three years experience, which means they are given some leeway for being new to the profession.
Similarly, most teachers statewide received high marks on their evaluations with 22.2 percent deemed "Highly Effective" and 74.5 percent as "Effective. Roughly 2 percent were deemed to need improvement while .3 percent were "Unsatisfactory."
The evaluations are the results of lawmakers' efforts in recent years to eliminate professional service contracts, which required school administrators to have cause for educators' dismissal before they could be removed.
Now all teachers will have annual contracts with student test scores on either the FCAT or an end-of-course exam constituting 50 percent of their yearly evaluations.
If teachers receive an "Unsatisfactory" evaluation in two out of three years, or "Needs Improvement" in three of five years, they would be ineligible for a new contract.
Only those who receive "Effective" or "Highly Effective" ratings would be eligible for raises.
Although the new evaluation method can help identify some problem areas, Joe Vitalo, president of the Hernando Classroom Teachers Association, said Wednesday it is too flawed to truly rate an employee's performance.
As in the past, he points to the use of students' testing ability. Recently Vitalo has been one of many voices statewide criticizing the evaluation method, since it applies students' scores to teachers who have never had them in the classroom.
On Wednesday, he added that each school district uses a different scoring model to rate teachers, meaning a teacher can be rated "Unsatisfactory" in Hernando County, but go elsewhere and receive the same score and be considered "Satisfactory."
"So just think about how skewed these numbers can be taken when you try to compare them to other districts," Vitalo said. "And remember, this is last year's data, so that doesn't mean it applies to this year. For example, most of those teachers who were rated 'Need's Improvement' are no longer with the district.
"So, is it a good diagnostic tool? Yes, but as an accountability tool, no."