Latest FLDOE Finding: Poverty and Race Didn’t Matter in Teacher Evaluation Scores

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February 1, 2013

By: Bob Sikes – Scathing Purple Musings

From Associated Press reporter Bill Kaczor in the Miami Herald:

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Studies show students’ race and socio-economic status have virtually no correlation with their teachers’ performance evaluation scores, a top Florida education official told a legislative panel Thursday.

Teachers are being evaluated during the current school year for the first time using what’s known as a value-added model. Half of each score must be based on how much a teacher’s students have improved on reading and math tests from one year to the next.

A hotly debated 2011 law that created the evaluation system prohibits students’ race, ethnicity, socio-economic status and gender from being considered in the value-added model, but it doesn’t really matter, said Deputy Chancellor for Educator Quality Kathy Hebda.

Hebda presented charts to the House K-12 Education Subcommittee that show almost zero correlation between teachers’ evaluation scores and the percentages of their students who are poor, nonwhite, gifted, disabled or English language learners. Teachers similarly didn’t get any advantage or disadvantage based on what grade levels they teach.

“Those things didn’t seem to factor in,” Hebda said. “You can’t tell for a teacher’s classroom by the way the value-added scores turned out whether she had zero percent students on free and reduced price lunch or 100 percent.”

Not all subcommittee members were convinced.

“You can’t deny the difference between a child who comes from a home where the parents are able to help that child with their learning, or if they provide tutoring or other enrichment activities, versus a child who goes home and doesn’t know where they’re going to stay that night,” said Rep. Karen Castor Dentel, D-Maitland. “It’s a factor that is out of the teacher’s control.”

Hebda said the model levels out those differences because it compares year-to-year test scores instead of using just the results from a single year.

I’m dying to know how they were able to squeeze this conclusion out of that junk pile of rancid potpourri. Naturally, one republican legislator said that “those who say it can’t be done need to get out of the way of those who are doing it,” and the results vindicated SB736.

Was this nonsense run by Tony Bennett first? If so, this is Bennett’s report. It furthermore makes the his bosses on the board of education look bad for signing off on race-based education goals last fall,  Wonder how Jeb Bush’s foundation will spin this.

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