Florida's Department of Education on Wednesday rolled out the results of a sweeping new teacher evaluation system that is designed to be a more accurate, helpful and data-driven measure of how well teachers actually get students to learn.
And then, within hours of releasing the data, the department pulled the numbers off its website and sheepishly admitted that much of it was wrong.
State officials late Wednesday said thousands of teachers were mistakenly double-counted because they had more than one "job code" in computerized records. That skewed the results.
Department spokeswoman Cynthia Sucher acknowledged it was "distressing" for the agency to learn that the information turned out to be incorrect.
The new evaluation system has been stressful for teachers. Even though it appears that the vast majority have been rated as "effective" or "highly effective," many have been downgraded. Critics of the new system said the problem did not surprise them.
"Garbage in, garbage out," said Bob Schaeffer, public education director for Fair Test, which opposes excessive testing. "The teacher evaluation system is ideologically driven and not ready for prime time . . . When you rush to put a shoddy system in place, you get ludicrous results."
"We told you so," said Marshall Ogletree, executive director of the Pinellas Classroom Teachers Association.
And of course the geniuses at the NYSED and the Regents and the NYCDOE are rushing to get our new APPR system in place for this year even though the UFT has yet to come to an agreement on the system, the tests and "local assessments" have yet to be introduced to teachers and students, and the Student Learning Objectives, another component of the evaluation system, have yet to be finalized.
But Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch is certain that this system WILL be in place this year and teachers will be evaluated using it.
I am sure there won't be any egregious errors like they had in Florida when the Regents, the NYSED and the local districts rush out a half-baked, unpiloted teacher evaluation system.
And if there are, well, so what?
That seems to be the attitude of these unaccountable education reform leaders all across the country.
Accountability is only for teachers, not for the people who put together half-baked, unpiloted evaluation system based upon error-riddled tests that are meant to be used as a bludgeon to fire thousands of good teachers all across the city simply because they make too much money.
Ravitch says the following:
At some point, after hundreds of millions of dollars have been wasted trying to standardize a process that requires human judgement, after thousands of excellent teachers have abandoned a profession they once loved, someone will finally admit that this nutty idea doesn’t work. A chorus will grow from sea to shining sea: teacher quality can’t be judged by student test scores.
I hope she's right.
Unfortunately I fear there are going to be a lot of ruined careers before we get to that point.