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Senate Panel Broadens Bill Changing Teacher Evaluations

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.  

The so-called parent trigger bill giving parents a say in the fate of failing schools contains similar language. It has cleared the House but a watered-down version looks less certain in the Senate.

Meanwhile the Florida Education Association is challenging the state’s evaluation laws on the basis of teachers being graded on students they don’t teach. The union says definitions of “failing” are unreliable because the evaluations are flawed.

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Lynn Hatter is a Florida A&M University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Lynn has served as reporter/producer for WFSU since 2007 with education and health care issues as her key coverage areas.  She is an award-winning member of the Capital Press Corps and has participated in the NPR Kaiser Health News Reporting Partnership and NPR Education Initiative. 

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