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Public school teachers removed after evaluations

Florida school officials are causing confusion and concern over their decision to remove teachers from the classroom based on certain evaluation scores. While all public school teachers are evaluated periodically, those in failing schools may be under particular scrutiny. At about halfway through this school year, some are concerned that removing teachers may be disruptive to students. However, it may be even more disruptive to the teachers who are not necessarily doing a poor job but are certainly dealing with high-risk students.

Teachers are evaluated in many ways, including observations by supervisors and student test scores. However, the recent decision to replace teachers is based on the value-added model. VAMs measure the influence a teacher has on the achievement of students. In other words, teachers may be judged based on the student test results rather than their own performances. In one county, six teachers are facing replacement because of low VAM scores.

When looking at the total scores of these teachers' evaluations, the school superintendent agrees that the educators are effective or even highly effective in rank. Nevertheless, this single indicator may result in a teacher being transferred. Critics complain that the system does not weigh the full potential of the teacher since it is based on subjective evaluations.

Florida teachers dealing with unfair or biased evaluations may feel they have few options. However, when those evaluations jeopardize the career and well-being of a public school educator, he or she would be wise to seek as much information as possible about the legal options available. Consulting an experienced attorney may be the first step.

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