Putting Education Reform To The Test

Lawmaker Files Bill To Exempt Teacher Evaluation Data From Public Records

Marcin Winchary / Flickr

A Florida lawmaker has filed a bill that would exempt teacher evaluation data from open record laws.

A Florida lawmaker has filed a bill which would keep teacher evaluation data private, according to the Florida Times-Union.

The bill, filed by Fernandina Beach Republican Janet Adkins, is in response to a Florida Times-Union lawsuit seeking the data under state public records laws.

At issue are “value-added scores,” which uses a complex statistical formula to try to calculate which teachers are the most and least effective in improving student test scores.

A circuit court judge ruled in March that the paper could not have access to the component data from which teacher ratings were calculated. Florida law requires teachers are evaluated using a combination of student test scores and principal or peer classroom observations.

Evaluations consist of three years of data and are exempt from public scrutiny until a year after release. That means teacher evaluation data would be at least four years old before becoming public.

The Florida Education Association, the state’s largest teacher’s union, supports the bill. Adkins says the Florida Department of Education asked her to introduce the bill.

But Adkins also supports H.B. 867 — more commonly known as the parent trigger. That bill requires that parents are notified if their student is placed in the classroom of a teacher who has earned one of the two lowest evaluations twice in a three-year period.

“This limited period of confidentiality is critical because it allows time for improved performance on the part of the affected education before student performance data is released,” The Florida Times-Union reported the bill states.


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