(Disclaimer: This is satire. To all those who think the politicians mentioned and quoted in the article below would actually admit to these realities, thank you for your faith in humanity.)
Florida has a long, proud history of pretending to evaluate teachers and two Republican lawmakers, Rep. Rene Plasencia and Sen. Debbie Mayfield, say they’re committed to carrying on this tradition during the 2018 legislative session.
“A real evaluation system would be honest about how teachers are performing—who’s really doing great things for kids, who’s doing okay, and who needs help with their skills. A real evaluation system would reward top teachers, support those who need help, and get rid of those who consistently can’t cut it,” said Rep. Plasencia.
“Don’t worry. That’s not the system we have here,” he said.
Florida’s current system gives tiny raises to all teachers that get a good rating, which is literally 98 percent of teachers in Florida, while ignoring the fact that roughly half of fourth-graders can’t read at grade level.
Before the 2011 Teacher Merit Pay law took effect, the law intended to pay teachers based on their performance, teachers were evaluated based largely on a complex system of “friendship points.”
“Friendship points are used in just about every industry to really gauge a person’s professional contributions, so that was an important part of our system. But leading up to 2011, people were demanding more. They had this crazy idea that teacher evaluations should be based, in part, on how much their students learn,” said Senator Mayfield who asked to remain anonymous.
Turns out, that idea actually was crazy. Nobody wants to be judged based on the results they get at work.
Before 2011, 99 percent of teachers in Florida were rated “satisfactory.” So you can imagine the totally justified outrage and widespread demoralization when, under the new merit-pay system, only 98 percent of teachers were rated “effective” or “highly effective.”
Pity parties spiked by 72 percent and the union’s rage meter actually broke—they replaced it with one that went all the way to 11. All this because of that one percent drop and a (yet unrealized) threat of teachers losing their jobs over evaluations.
Lawmakers tried to assure the teachers unions that this was only a pretend system, as evidenced by the unrealistic number of teachers scoring below “effective,” but it didn’t work. That one-percent drop felt too real.
So lawmakers began chipping away at the evaluation system, which was fine because it was a pretend system that didn’t have any real rewards or consequences anyway. As such, it also didn’t have any real power to improve schools for children.
Now, at the start of this 2018 legislative session, Rep. Plasencia and Sen. Mayfield are cozying up to the teachers unions even more by proposing to disconnect student performance from teacher evaluations altogether.
“Student test scores should never have been included as a part of our evaluations, not even in our make-believe system,” Plasencia told the Orlando Sentinel, pretending he is once again a teacher.
His co-sponsor added, “But, let’s be clear! We’re still going to pretend to do teacher evaluations. We just want to make sure teachers unions don’t have anymore imaginary threats to spark their outrage.”