Well, I'm sure all the FL undergraduates who were thinking about declaring an education major are really going to be thrilled to hear this. Bad pay, reduced benefits, AND unreliable evaluations tied to employment? Sign me up!The proposal would bar any instructional personnel in school districts hired after July 1, 2011, from receiving tenure or professional-service contracts. Teachers would be eligible for one-year contracts after that, but not if they had received two consecutive unsatisfactory evaluations, two such evaluations in a three-year period, or three consecutive "needs improvement" evaluations, according to the latest version of the proposal I've seen.The bill reflects and supports many of the goals of Florida's winning application in the federal Race to the Top competition. Florida's $700 million plan requires that 50
percent of teachers' and administrators' evaluations be based on growth in student achievement on statewide tests. Under a recent version of the legislation, not all students would necessarily be held to the same measures for academic gains over time, and school districts could request to create alternatives.The legislation also would replace the typical step-and-lane system for paying teachers with one based on performance, as judged by the evaluation system created through the proposal.As Republicans hailed the measure's passage, the state's largest teachers' union, the Florida Education Association, blasted it, saying the proposal is likely to create an unreliable system for judging teachers. The union also said the research does not demonstrate a connection between implementing merit-pay systems and improved student achievement."There's no research evidence that this legislation will help our children in public schools," said Andy Ford, the FEA's president, on Wednesday. "We've looked closely at plenty of scientifically sound, peer-reviewed research out there that shows this is the wrong approach to take to implement performance pay and to revamp evaluations."The union also says the system will bring heavy financial burdens to districts, at a time when Gov. Scott is proposing slashing K-12 spending. State lawmakers had voiced similiar concerns in recent weeks
The lawsuits will be unbelievable. Even the most conservative judge will have a hard time ruling for the state after he hears from all the experts who will discredit using test scores to rate teachers. That's not even counting the racial aspects of VAM. Florida is a southern state in geography and in temperament; when the inevitable lawsuits alleging racial bias come, look out.
Soon after will follow the cronyism stories. Then we will find out about all of the money flowing out of the classroom and into the hands of testing contractors. And, of course, the cheating.
Pretty soon, the good people of Florida will remember why tenure was invented in the first place. By then, however, the teacher corps will be destroyed. Bright young people will avoid a career in education like it's a Zune.
But by then, the Sunshine State won't have money to send on recruiting teachers; it will all have been spent on lawyers and settling suits.
What will you do then, Florida? I'm betting on off-shore drilling...
ADDING: How could I forget to mention Gov Rick Scott's #1 education advisor: St. Michelle Rhee. She's wreaking havoc all over the nation.