Florida Education Association

A bill basing teacher evaluations only on kids in their classrooms is on its way to a full Senate vote. The measure had the support of the state teacher’s union but that’s waning, after the bill was changed Tuesday prohibiting a student from being assigned to a failing teacher two years in a row. The change was added by the bill’s sponsor, Senator Anitere Flores (R-Miami).

“It’s an issue that has been reached as a compromise. So we want to make sure that language is in a couple of different bills," she said.  

Teachers, Unions Sue Over New Evaluation Model

Apr 17, 2013

Seven teachers and their local unions filed suit in federal court to block the state's landmark performance pay law on Tuesday. It's the latest development in a three-year battle over how teachers should be paid.

The lawsuit is backed by the National Education Association and Florida Education Association. FEA lawyer Ron Meyer says some teachers' rights are being violated since they're being assessed based on students who sometimes aren't even in their classrooms.

The state's largest teacher's union does not like what it's seeing.

 “Why are we flying in an executive director of Parent Revolution from California to talk about Florida schools and parents in Florida and what they need?" said the Florida Education Association's Jeff Wright. "How in the hell does he know what parents in this state need?”

The Florida Channel

Full-time Florida public school teachers could see their incomes rise later this year if Governor Rick Scott gets his way. The Governor is proposing a $2500 pay raise, but it has to make it through the legislature first.

“There was some buzz about it, some teachers talking about it discussing it, of course it was positive feedback," said Farrah Donaldson, an English and History teacher at Wakulla High School.

After lawmakers passed a measure in 2011 that would require state employees to contribute three percent of their salary to their retirement, a number of groups launched an effort to get the law declared unconstitutional. But the Florida Supreme Court has upheld the law.  And Florida Education Association lawyer, Ron Meyer, said there's not further appeal possible.

Florida Department of Education

The most recent hit to the Florida Department of Education involves the much-anticipated release of new teacher evaluations. The department released them and retracted them on the same day citing problems with duplicate teachers being reported on the rolls. Interim Education Commissioner Pam Stewart says problem came from the way districts reported salary information.

The Florida Department of Education is re-examining its preliminary teacher evaluation reports after districts recognized the data wasn’t accurate. The department says the revised report will be available Thursday morning.

Teachers are just now getting their evaluation reports for the prior school year and for many the score cards come as a shock. That’s because those reports are based on a new evaluation scale that also considers expectations for student performance.

Florida’s largest teacher’s union is calling for changes to a newly implemented evaluation system that is  giving many teachers a shock.

Under the state’s new evaluation system,  districts aren’t just looking at things like the way teachers teach, and how well their students perform on tests, it’s is also factoring in how well it thinks students should have performed. That’s called the Value-Added Model.” And it’s proved disastrous for Margaret Goodwin, a 3rd grade teacher in St. Petersburg’s Westgate Elementary School.

Governor Rick Scott has started unrolling his 2013 legislative priorities for education.

Scott says he wants to focus on getting kids ready for college and careers. He’s calling for money for teacher training, more money for the overall education budget, and greater access to charter schools.

“In the vein of creating more options, lets allow our school districts to do their own charters so that we have more options for our parents and our students," Scott told reporters after Tuesday's Cabinet meeting.

Sun-Sentinel

Governor Rick Scott has been making the rounds to schools across the state on an education listening tour. Scott says he wants to gather ideas on education and is talking with parents and teachers, but some of his critics say they aren’t convinced that Scott’s outreach efforts are genuine.

Scott, a supporter of charter schools and school choice,  says one thing he’s heard from parents is that they want more options for how and where their children are educated.

Governor Rick Scott says he wants state lawmakers to hold education funding steady, and he’s open to revisiting issues like teacher merit pay.

Scott continues his education listening tour in the Panhandle this week. Today he’s set to meet with parents and teachers in Fort Walton Beach and Crestview. On Friday he stopped at Tallahassee’s Governor’s Charter Academy, where he spoke with a largely-friendly crowd of parents.

Updated 01/18/13:

The Florida Supreme Court on a 4-3 vote agreed with the state to overturn the appellate court's ruling Thursday. The high court upheld the law requiring public employees contribute 3-percent of their pay toward their retirement plans--a big win for the Governor Rick Scott and the Republican-led Legislature, who say had the 2011 law been struck down, there would have been a big budget gap to fill.

Stay tuned to Friday's Capital Report to hear more on this story and how it applies to potential employee raises.

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The state teacher’s union says the Florida Department of Education and State Board of Education exceeded their authority in setting out rules for districts to follow in crafting new teacher evaluations used to determine who gets merit pay bonuses.The union took its case to an administrative law judge Wednesday.

“The challenge is that they have exceeded the authority they were delegated," said attorney Tony Demma, who represents the Florida Education Association and two teachers in the case.

A Leon County Circuit judge has ruled the state’s mandatory pension contribution unconstitutional. Lynn Hatter reports state leaders and interest groups are pushing back by denouncing her as an “activist judge” and saying they will appeal the ruling.

Courtroom 3G in the Leon County Courthouse is packed with lobbyists, lawyers and reports, all waiting on one person…

It’s About Florida: Parent Trigger

Mar 6, 2012

School Choice Advocates are pushing for a Florida version of California’s Controversial “Parent Trigger” Law – It would give a majority of parents a chance to “trigger” a plan to turn around a failing school by either getting rid of bad teachers, changing principals or turn it over to a private management company.

Guests

Shirley Ford and Linda Serrato with Parent Revolution

Mark Pudlow with the Florida Education Association

 

A Tallahassee judge is expected to rule Tuesday on whether a mandatory state employee pension contribution is unconstitutional. Lynn Hatter reports the legislature approved three-percent pension contributions from state employees last year and a coalition of groups sued.

In a lawsuit challenging the pension contributions, the state’s largest teachers union, the Florida Education Association, said the move violated collective bargaining agreements with state employees.

The Florida Department of Education is following up on its controversial ranking of school districts, by ranking individual schools. Lynn Hatter reports the results have charter schools and specialty schools taking up a large chunk of the top 10 list of public schools.

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