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As of this morning, a group of seven Florida teachers from three counties filed suit against the Florida Commissioner of Education, the Florida Board of Education and the school boards of those three counties -  Alachua, Hernando and Escambia.  The lawsuit was filed in the District Court of the United States for the Northern District of Florida, Gainesville Division today.

Perhaps the lawsuit can be explained by looking at plaintiff Kim Cook, first grade teacher at W.W. Irby Elementary School in Alachua County.   SHe holds a Master’s Degree in Multilingual and Multicultural Education, plays a leading role both within her school and the greater community in spreading best teaching practices for teaching English to speakers of other languages, and was selected as her school’s Teacher of the Year in 2012-13.

But consider that in 2011-2012 40% of her evaluation was based on FCAT (Florida state tests) reading tests of 4th and 5th graders at Alachua County Elementary School, where she does not teach, whom she has never taught, whom she has never even met.  She is scheduled to be similarly evaluated this year. Oh, and by the way?  Even though her school considered her their teacher of the year, because of the requirements of the Florida law, SB 736, her official evaluation was that her performance was "unsatisfactory."  Under that law, teachers rated unsatisfactory (the lowest of the four performance ratings under the law) two consecutive years or two out of three years in a row are subject to termination or non-renewal.  Transfers, promotions and layoffs are based on the assigned performance rating.  And, as of July 1, 2014, salaries will be based on the assigned performance rating as well.  

Or perhaps we can look at Bethann Brooks, a health science teacher at Central High School in Hernando County, who is also a registered nurse and who teaches tenth, eleventh and twelfth graders in courses designed to prepare them to work as nursing assistants, medical administrative assistants and in similar fields.  She was selected as both her school’s and Hernando County’s Teacher of the Year in 2012-13.   51% of her 2011-2012 evaluation was based on reading scores of all ninth and tenth graders at Central High School, most of whom she does not teach.  Obviously the few she teaches her instruction is NOT in reading, but in health science subjects not assessed by the test. she is again schedule to be evaluated in that fashion for the current school year.

The other 5 plaintiffs have similar stories.

All 7 allege that they are being treated in an arbitrary, irrational and unfair fashion in being evaluated for both last year and this year with significant (40% or more) of their evaluations based on the standardized test performance of students they do not teach, or from subjects they do not teach.  

The lawsuit contends that teachers’ evaluations based on the test scores of students they do not teach or based on subjects they do no teach violate the equal protection and due process clauses of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

The 7 are all outstanding teachers, which is why they have been selected as the defendants for this case, which will be discussed later today in press conference organized jointly by the National Education Association and its Florida affiliate the Florida Education Association, which are also parties to the suit.  

UPDATE   Here is a link for the actual filing.  It is a PDF

Please keep reading.

Florida is not alone in having laws evaluating teachers on the basis of test scores of students.  States which received funding under Race to the Top were as one requirement of receipt of the funds distributed as part of the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (the stimulus) to base a significant portion of teacher evaluation upon the assessment performance of students.

The problem of course is that states do not have examinations in all subjects.  How then does one evaluate teachers of courses lacking such examinations?  What Florida has chosen - using examinations in other subjects - is an approach that is not uncommon.  The rationale is supposed to be that all teachers contribute to the student performance on reading and/or on math, which are considered in this approach to be the foundational skills for education.  

Yet even if that is so, how can one evaluate teachers on scores of students they have not taught, whose may not even attend the same school?

Florida uses an assessment of student "growth" on two tests, the FCATs in math and reading.  Math is given in grades 4-8 and reading in 4-10.   But as the law suit points out, the majority of teachers in Florida instruct in K-3, before testing is done;  in advanced topics in math in grades 9-12 or in literature in grades 11-12; in special education; or in subjects like art, music, physical education, health, foreign languages, social studies and science.  None of these have their own tests.  The 7 defendants thus are representative of the majority of teachers in Florida who are thus being evaluated by test scores for which it is hard to argue they bear responsibility, yet their livelihoods are being determined largely by such scores.  They and the unions contend that this is unlawful and arbitrary.  The teachers are therefore seeking an injunction against further implementation of this evaluation system.

Florida is an important place in which to bring such a suit.  Besides being one of the largest states in the nation, it is also a focal point of where aspects of the "reform" system have been developed, largely because of the influence of former Governor Jeb Bush.  

But one also notes that the United States Department of Education under the last two Presidents has been a strong supporter of the notion of evaluating teachers by the test performance of students, even though the professional organizations most involved with psychological measurement (of which school testing is a subset)  -  The American Psychological Association, The American Educational Research Association, and the National Council of Measurement in Education - have been on record for some time with a joint statement which includes language about the appropriate use of tests -  they must be validated for the purposes for which they are being used.  

That a test is designed to allow the drawing of valid references for one purpose does not mean it is valid for another.  Thus a test designed to assess what a student knows and can do in a particular subject does not mean it allows drawing inferences about the impact of the teaching the student has received. This problem is not alleviated by the use of statistical measures such as value added methodologies or formulas such as that used in Florida.

If a test is designed to validly measure what a student knows and do in 4th grade Reading, that does not allow it to be used to evaluate the effectiveness of the 4th grade Reading teacher.  It has no connection to the effectiveness of the student's Art teacher, and obviously has no connection whatsoever to the performance of a teacher who did not teach that student.  To use such scores is clearly arbitrary.

Nor do systems like Florida take into account the impact of parents who exercise their option to withhold their children from testing, which is something that is increasingly happening as more parents object to the arbitrariness of the testing regime that has been being implemented in recent years.  

It is quite appropriate for Florida to be the site of this lawsuit.  The state has been a key place for the implementation of aspects of the "reform" movement pushed by some foundations, think tanks and corporations, largely because of the continuing influence of former Governor Jeb Bush, who is also seeking to spread similar ideas across the nation.

Thus while this may be the first such lawsuit, it is unlikely to be the only one.

It is a further indication that the "reform" agenda will not go unchallenged.

Teachers are standing up to protect the educational interests of their students and the integrity of their profession.

Stay tuned as the struggle continues.

Originally posted to teacherken on Tue Apr 16, 2013 at 06:00 AM PDT.

Also republished by Education Alternatives and Teachers Lounge.

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Comment Preferences

  •  good to hear Florida teachers are fighting back. (25+ / 0-)

    These "reformers" are a toxic bunch, and one of my greatest disappointments of the Obama administration is that they don't send these grifters packing.

    These days, the very word "reform" makes my skin crawl.

    If the plutocrats begin the program, we will end it. -- Eugene Debs.

    by livjack on Tue Apr 16, 2013 at 06:10:50 AM PDT

  •  I donated to TAMSA (15+ / 0-)

    I donated to TAMSA - Texans Advocating for Meaningful Student Assessments a few days ago, and contacted public officials to request that they support HB5 to reduce our state testing requirements.   We have to keep fighting this on a state by state basis.

  •  Anecdontal evidence not being (5+ / 0-)

    scientific evidence... and this example being one of the more extreme circumstances.

    In my experience, the students who I'd call the freeloaders would do badly on their tests or other assignments... and then demand the teacher be unreasonably lenient with the grade given. Oh... no prior notice of prolonged absence(s).

    And then the parents of such students would back them up because they are the ones that take their children for vacation during the off season because it's cheaper.

    So with the particular situation I described, the reason why the student does so poorly is not the teacher's fault and I would not penalize the teacher for it at all.

    Why hello there reality, how are you doing?

    by Future Gazer on Tue Apr 16, 2013 at 06:22:17 AM PDT

  •  That's why in Indiana, the teachers are tied to (4+ / 0-)

    the students they teach.  I don't know about teachers in Pre-K-3, but about third grade, they get tested on their students--the fourth grade teachers get evaluated on the progress of the fourth graders they teach.  

    In subjects like music and courses that aren't tested, teachers are expected to design their own end of course assessment with rubric and get it approved by the administration.

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

    by zenbassoon on Tue Apr 16, 2013 at 06:31:28 AM PDT

  •  another Florida teacher (6+ / 0-)

    After the teacher was excoriated throughout the MSM and social media, the facts emerge that an overzealous parent misunderstood the assignment....

    Students at Cedar Hills Elementary School were not asked to surrender their constitutional rights last week and instead were doing an exercise to challenge their critical thinking.

    That was the message Monday from Duval County Superintendent Nikolai Vitti after he ordered the school district to conduct an investigation into a civics assignment led by a local lawyer. The investigation found that some parents have wrongly blamed the teacher for a sentence during the lesson, Vitti said.

    “The original accusation was that the teacher was indoctrinating students to give up their constitutional rights,” Vitti said. “But the fact is, the teacher wasn’t teaching the lesson. The attorney was giving the lesson, in the media center, with a guidance counselor present.”

    http://jacksonville.com/...

    "Tax cuts for the 1% create jobs." -- Republicans, HAHAHA - in China

    by MartyM on Tue Apr 16, 2013 at 06:46:39 AM PDT

  •  you can't get rid of poverty with tests (13+ / 0-)

    The real problem in American education is there is unequal access to pretty much all aspects of education from supplies, to playground equipment to extra help. That is because of how education is funded (local taxes). Giving more tests is not going to help. Kid in struggling areas need more money for support and they will never get it unless there is some sort of federal law(which is very unlikely). No amount of testing will make a kid whose parents work the night shift and live in coackroach-infested buildings and who comes to school hungry perform as well as a kid from the suburbs.

    But sure arbitrarily punish that kid's hard-working teachers..
    That'll make them want to work in his/her school.

    "If I am not for myself, who am I? If I am only for myself, what am I? If not now, when?" Hillel

    by aurora in canada on Tue Apr 16, 2013 at 06:47:24 AM PDT

    •  The supply of money is the purview of (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sethtriggs, Lujane

      Congress.
      Willard spoke truth when he said he wanted to go to Washington because that's where the money is. Willard's problem was that he didn't recognize his own limitations. A snake-charmer who was going to make Congress dance to his tune, he is not.
      Congress rations dollars to promote just one agenda -- the members' continued occupancy of their seats. 160 freshment in two elections in the House have not been enough to convince them they're going about it wrong -- that more punitive measures will convince those citizens, whom they haven't removed from the rolls, to keep them in place.

      We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

      by hannah on Tue Apr 16, 2013 at 08:05:58 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Exactly. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sethtriggs, Lujane

      The entire "reform" movement is based on the authoritarian will-to-punish.

      Kids and teachers didn't do what we want? Ignore why that happened, just punish them.

      "What could BPossibly go wrong??" -RLMiller "God is just pretend." - eru

      by nosleep4u on Tue Apr 16, 2013 at 08:12:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The tenements of New York's (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MGross, Lujane

      Lower East Side used to be stuffed with poor Jews.

      Many of their descendants are probably now affluent doctors, lawyers and businesspeople.

      From what I've seen, those tenements are now filled with ethnic Chinese. Chinatown has massively expanded. I suspect the Chinese children living in those awful looking buildings will make their teachers proud.

      •  Not what you think. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        FloridaSNMOM

        If the poor people were already educated (like the Jews were) it's a lot easier to move up.

        There was also more upward mobility than their is today.

        What we've got now are millions of poor kids, most from single-parent families, most with few or now educated role models. No matter what, getting these kids to score high on tests will be a tough job.

        When the kids are from bad socioeconomic situations, the expectations for teachers should be lowered.

  •  Our teachers down here are some of the best ! (4+ / 0-)

    Scott hurts them in so many ways... Our superintendent is constantly having to go to Tallahassee for support from the legislators and Scott.  They want to do away with public schools and make it very very hard.

    I have seen bad schools before.. I think most of it is because so many of our Northern friends are in our administrative and teaching jobs.  The staff at my youngest daughter's school are from NYC for the most part.

    We the People have to make a difference and the Change.....Just do it ! Be part of helping us build a veteran community online. United Veterans of America

    by Vetwife on Tue Apr 16, 2013 at 06:52:51 AM PDT

  •  I meant our district has a good thing (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FloridaSNMOM, Lujane

    with the NYC teachers.... The bad schools are a little further north of here.. LIKE 350 miles... IMO.

    We the People have to make a difference and the Change.....Just do it ! Be part of helping us build a veteran community online. United Veterans of America

    by Vetwife on Tue Apr 16, 2013 at 06:54:18 AM PDT

  •  I will give Jeb Bush this much credit - FCRR (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lujane

    The Florida Center for Reading Research - FCRR

    He and his brother made this phenomenal resource a possibility. Run by internationally-renown researchers, one of their missions is to make available the most scientifically-sound research on reading development and reading instruction available to everyone.

    If you have any interest in literacy development or working with struggling readers, I strongly suggest you take a look at their site.

  •  My kids are in neighboring Santa Rosa County (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FloridaSNMOM, sethtriggs, Lujane, chimene

    and both are honor roll students. Both are recent immigrants from China who spoke very little English when they arrived just three years ago.

    My 11th grade daughter was recommended for honors level physics next year and my 7th grade son is in advanced math class and was on the math team.

    Both failed their FCAT exams.

    The teacher highlighted in this diary, Kim Cook, is an ESOL teacher. WTF. Our school system has one teacher dedicated to teaching ESOL and she is a prize. She teaches at all of the area schools. Her loss would cause me to move from this area and possibly Florida all together.

    We all stand submissively before the global ATM machine network like trained chickens pecking the correct colored buttons to release our grains of corn. Joe Bageant

    by Zwoof on Tue Apr 16, 2013 at 07:03:15 AM PDT

  •  This is the key (6+ / 0-)

    I cannot emphasize this enough because I have seen similar abuse of evaluation methods being used to reward or punish in other areas besides education.  It has become the misuse of a valid tool to help teachers evaluate what an individual child knows and to be able to help that child improve upon his weaknesses.

    That a test is designed to allow the drawing of valid references for one purpose does not mean it is valid for another.  Thus a test designed to assess what a student knows and can do in a particular subject does not mean it allows drawing inferences about the impact of the teaching the student has received.

    "Growing up is for those who don't have the guts not to. Grow wise, grow loving, grow compassionate, but why grow up?" - Fiddlegirl

    by gulfgal98 on Tue Apr 16, 2013 at 07:23:34 AM PDT

  •  Standardized tests are bullshit. Period. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FloridaSNMOM, sethtriggs, Lujane

    They're especially bad for LD or ASD students who have trouble working through standardized systems of learning.

    The only thing they seem to be good for is money. This sort of crap only encourages a bigger push toward a for profit model for education.

    I'd hate to see what happens to LD and ASD students if they succeed in this crap.

    Keep in mind that I bring up LD and ASD because I am one myself.

    I write a series called 'My Life as an Aspie', documenting my experiences before and after my A.S. diagnosis as a way to help fellow Aspies and parents of Aspies and spread awareness. If I help just one person by doing this, then I've served a purpose.

    by Homer177 on Tue Apr 16, 2013 at 07:42:57 AM PDT

    •  Not only are the tests themselves bad for LD and (5+ / 0-)

      ASD students but the whole testing system is. Too much pressure, too many breaks in routine, and too many questions with questionable answers (non-logic based for example) that require social knowledge which these kids often don't get (like cliche or trite answers, like the 'wise owl' example someone did a diary on a few months back).

      One of the benefits to homeschooling our son: No more FCAT to struggle with. The FCAT gave him a fear of tests we're still working through.

      "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

      by FloridaSNMOM on Tue Apr 16, 2013 at 08:25:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That's true. (3+ / 0-)

        Since we're often kept out of the social order in one way or another, that makes testing even more difficult.

        I've also come to realize that many of us on the spectrum or with LD tend to look for new ways of doing things all the time because many high schools refuse to teach to a child's learning style because of the administrative bureaucracy and such.

        Teachers suffer too, since they're forced to teach to a curriculum that benefits no one and prevents them from really working with their students.

        Privatization makes this worse tenfold because those schools often teach to whatever makes them the most profit. It's sad. We can do so much better.

        I write a series called 'My Life as an Aspie', documenting my experiences before and after my A.S. diagnosis as a way to help fellow Aspies and parents of Aspies and spread awareness. If I help just one person by doing this, then I've served a purpose.

        by Homer177 on Tue Apr 16, 2013 at 09:59:27 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Imagine the kind of education system we could have (3+ / 0-)

          if there were teaching teams.  Imagine if we put as much money into early education as we have put into wars.  

          Both teaching and learning should be highly creative and engaged activities that are meaningful to both teacher and student.  

          It gets on my nerves, and you know how I am about my nerves...

          by ciganka on Tue Apr 16, 2013 at 11:51:38 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Actually I work with standardized tests and (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FloridaSNMOM

      see them as a useful tool but a very small part of a larger analysis.  However, they are being used excessively.  One lousy day of testing is enough for a school year.  The importance that test scores are being given is totally out of proportion to their usefulness.  

      Furthermore, test scores are a tool for the teachers as a small part of the assessment of individual or group progress in the learning experience.  

      You are correct in that we now have a huge profit motive involved - which has completely subverted the whole point of standardized testing.  

      It always needs to come down to the judgment of the teacher.  For example, a ASD or LD person's test results would tell very little about that particular individual's learning experience.  As I said, one test a year for a teacher to see how the group is doing overall is quite enough to get a spread sheet going and see if there is something significant to glean from the results or not.

      It gets on my nerves, and you know how I am about my nerves...

      by ciganka on Tue Apr 16, 2013 at 11:41:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I thought state administrative (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sparhawk, Lujane

    and judicial procedures had to be utilized first.

    The lawsuit was filed in the District Court of the United States for the Northern District of Florida, Gainesville Division today.
    [I'm not a lawyer.]
    Perhaps the lawsuit can be explained by looking at plaintiff Kim Cook, first grade teacher at W.W. Irby Elementary School in Alachua County.   SHe holds a Master’s Degree in Multilingual and Multicultural Education, plays a leading role both within her school and the greater community in spreading best teaching practices for teaching English to speakers of other languages, and was selected as her school’s Teacher of the Year in 2012-13.

    But consider that in 2011-2012 40% of her evaluation was based on FCAT (Florida state tests) reading tests of 4th and 5th graders at Alachua County Elementary School, where she does not teach, whom she has never taught, whom she has never even met.  

    She should have asked her school system to use the test scores of her students in her class. And the school system should have agreed to do so.

    And if you say she "plays a leading role both within her school and the greater community in spreading best teaching practices for teaching English to speakers of other languages" then perhaps it is proper for her evaluation to be somewhat (maybe 10%, certainly not 40%) based on the "greater community" and not merely on the scores of the students she directly taught.

    The question also arises if she agreed in writing to the broad base of the evaluation.

    •  How would assess the "maybe 10%"? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FloridaSNMOM

      It is very easy to say she should have done this or done that. The fact is the testing requirement was implemented at the state level, hence the lawsuit.  Teacher evaluation is not as simple as a couple of check boxes on a form. Although that is what many "experts" tend to say.  (An "expert" is someone who went to school once.)

      •  current way [I believe] (0+ / 0-)

        .4*FCAT-value-added(district)+.6*Y

        10% way
        .1*FCAT-value-added(district)+
        .3*FCAT-value-added(her students)+.6*Y

        class-based way
        .4*FCAT-value-added(teacher's students)+.6*Y

        where Y is an evaluation value not based on the FCAT and reflects the value added by the teacher

        •  So students are just numbers plugged into a ... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ciganka, FloridaSNMOM

          formula?  How do you account for the students who move into a district half way through the year, those who come to school hungry?  Those who came into a school year two levels behind and are now only one? Those who come to school in the same clothes every day because they don't have anything else and are not really worried about school as much as whether they will eat that night?  I didn't see those in your calculation.

    •  The greater community does not mean (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FloridaSNMOM

      the greater community of the school, necessarily. I took it to mean that she probably works within her city and county to help teach ESOL to people who are not in a formal school. Or perhaps she teaches seminars to train other ESOL teachers. If that is the case, I don't think even 10% of her evaluation should be based on the "greater community".

      It is easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled. Mark Twain

      by lynneinfla on Tue Apr 16, 2013 at 09:13:05 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Teachers are not like plumbers, (6+ / 0-)

    whose expertise can be assessed by whether or not their pipes leak or the faucet drips.
    Unfortunately, many of the legislators seeking to judge whether dollars are well spent can't tell the difference between plumbing and teaching, reading and speaking. They repeat what they hear and believe what they say, regardless of whether it's correct.

    Testing is just another example of middlemen aiming to get a "cut" of public spending for themselves.

    "tax cut" = a cut of the taxes public agencies collect.

    Binary thinkers do not employ adjectives and adverbs as modifiers. Two part phrases usually represent distinct entities which exist in a state of opposition.

    We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

    by hannah on Tue Apr 16, 2013 at 07:56:56 AM PDT

    •  there is also the broader question (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sethtriggs, Lujane

      what good does it do the kids to be taught to tests, that will have absolutely no relevance to their adult life?

      •  The material to be taught (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Lujane, Sparhawk

        should be relevant to their adult lives.

        The tests, which should be and are required by federal law to be based on the material to be taught, should test the effectiveness of the teaching of that relevant material.

        •  There is a difference between teaching material (0+ / 0-)

          And teaching to a test,  there is a difference in results too.  Making the test double as salary indicator maximizes the likelyhood that teaching to the test will result, not best teaching practices, and hoping the test covers something not covered in the core.

    •  One can browse the Internet (0+ / 0-)

      and make an assessment of the language skills of Americans personally.

      •  Well, hearing and speaking involve very (0+ / 0-)

        different skills from reading and writing. The latter are visual and tactile, while the former involve the mouth and the ears.
        Humans have been communicating much longer via the spoken than the written word. Indeed, universal literacy has never been achieved or, for that matter, desired by the ruling elite. As it stands, 30% of the adult U.S. population is functionally illiterate. So, they rely on what they hear for their main source of information. FOX TV is radio with pictures.

        We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

        by hannah on Tue Apr 16, 2013 at 12:20:28 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  There is also the question of whether (0+ / 0-)

    a broad based evaluation was used to avoid basing teacher compensation excessively on the basis of the performance of poverty stricken children that they happen to been assigned to teach.

    The union via a collective bargaining agreement might have insisted the performance of the School for the Children of Rich Honkeys be merged with the performance of the School for the Children of the Brothers and Sisters.

  •  You don't know how angry I am (8+ / 0-)

    My child is in 4th grade and taking state tests over six days the next two weeks. These tests count not only for the school, but for her middle school "application." She was hysterical last night. She had trouble falling asleep, then got upset because she was having trouble falling asleep and got afraid she wouldn't get enough sleep for the test, which of course made it impossible to fall asleep, which fed her fear about not getting enough sleep. It took 20 minutes of back-rubbing to get her to fall asleep. While a part of me, of course, enjoyed getting to baby my nine year old (something I rarely get to do anymore), most of me was just enraged about the pressure put on 4th graders. Livid.

  •  As a former Florida public school student (7+ / 0-)

    I can easily say the WORST indication of a bad teacher is bad FCAT scores, because that means that instead of teaching us stuff on the FCAT, they were actually teaching their subject.  This is why Florida has such awful public education, that we can all thank the Bush brothers for.

    Follow me on Twitter! @guileofthegods

    by Guile Of The Gods on Tue Apr 16, 2013 at 08:04:31 AM PDT

    •  It's a shame the reverse isn't true (0+ / 0-)

      or we'd have a foolproof method of finding the best teachers.

      "The problems of incompetent, corrupt, corporatist government are incompetence, corruption and corporatism, not government." Jerome a Paris

      by Orinoco on Tue Apr 16, 2013 at 09:23:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The best teachers are usually the ones who (4+ / 0-)

        reject stupid tests like FCAT because they know most of it is useless. Teachers in multiple grade levels actually have to take time and tell students, "ok guys, we have to stop learning real stuff because we have to learn FCAT stuff". (I've actually had teachers say that to me). It's just a way they can destroy the public school system, because charter & private schools are not required to take the FCAT to pass high school, but public school is.

        Follow me on Twitter! @guileofthegods

        by Guile Of The Gods on Tue Apr 16, 2013 at 10:45:17 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  In my experience (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          FloridaSNMOM, Cassandra Waites

          the public school teachers who rejected and ignored stupid tests like the FCAT were those lucky souls who had a bunch of students who they weren't concerned about whether they could pass the test.
          Honors students.
          GATES classes.
          The kids who were a grade level or two ahead of their peers in reading and math, and who already had good test taking skills.  
          Kids who could have sat for the tests at the beginning of the school year and aced them with no instruction at all.

          Now, most of those teachers were also good teachers, but it had nothing to do with the test. They were good teachers because it's hard to keep up with bright kids and less good teachers who accidentally got assigned those kids went back to regular classes the following year, or parents put pressure on the school to assign good teachers (often by name) to their little darling's class, and, because parents of these kids tend to be very active and assertive, the principal complied.

          It is, as you say, all part of destroying the public school system, because in the public system, the bulk of the tax money goes straight into salaries and operating expenses, with no profits for  shareholders or corporate executives making exhorbitant salaries. Besides, Wall Street can't take a public school "public" and play games with their stock price.

          "The problems of incompetent, corrupt, corporatist government are incompetence, corruption and corporatism, not government." Jerome a Paris

          by Orinoco on Tue Apr 16, 2013 at 03:03:51 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Link doesn't appear to work. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sparhawk, Lujane

    I'm really kind of curious to read the filing, this seems like quite a stretch as a 14th amendment case.

    •  okay, let me see if I can fix it eom (0+ / 0-)

      "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

      by teacherken on Tue Apr 16, 2013 at 08:53:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  html error fixed - link should now work eom (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MGross, Lujane

      "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

      by teacherken on Tue Apr 16, 2013 at 08:55:59 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Ok, thanks, after reviewing it... (0+ / 0-)

        ...the argument regarding the 14th is on pages 31 and 32.

        It's a complete non sequitur, how precisely are teacher evaluations on students they didn't teach a 14th amendment violation?  It doesn't even seem to address the Due Process requirement.  I mean, it mentions  the Due Process requirement on 111,  but not in any way which explains  how they were deprived of it.

        I guess they're trying to make a rational basis argument based on the 14th (which almost never work) but I'm not sure how this wouldn't be trivially satisfied.  Any teacher's evaluation which contains a part regarding to the performance of the school as a whole necessarily includes students they didn't teach.

        I don't think they're going to have a great deal of success.

        •  actually it is a clear equal protection argument (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          FloridaSNMOM

          all teacher are evaluated by test scores of students

          some teachers taught those students

          others did not

          so some teachers have their livelihoods determined by work they did while others are having it determined by the work others did.  That is not treating them equally.

          It is no more of a stretch of equal protection than some other applications that have been upheld in the past.  The 14th Amendment does not in its language limit its application to discrimination on external characteristics such as race - it has been applied to discrimination based on religion and in a few cases on appearance including obesity.

          "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

          by teacherken on Tue Apr 16, 2013 at 11:29:20 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Discrimination isn't universally banned by 14th (0+ / 0-)

            Teachers aren't a protected class.

            Basically, in any situation where their claim would prevail, you'd have to invalidate any non-uniformity in teacher evaluation.

            •  not necessarily (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              FloridaSNMOM

              and I will admit I am not a lawyer

              issue of protective class simply establishes a strict scrutiny standard a government has to meet in order to discriminate

              equal protection clause has been applied in situations beyond that on matters of essential fairness

              that would seem to apply here

              this is not merely arbitrary, it is treating discrete groups of teachers differently in a way that may not be sustainable

              "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

              by teacherken on Tue Apr 16, 2013 at 01:54:10 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

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