Today's news -- November 13, 2013




Court rules teacher data is a public record

A Florida appeals court sided with a newspaper Tuesday and said that data used to prepare teacher evaluations is a public record. It's not clear, however, whether or not the Florida Department of Education would fight the ruling or make the information public. Teacher evaluations do not become public records for two years, but The Florida Times-Union in October 2012 asked for information the state planned to use as part of a new evaluation system for teachers. The newspaper sued when the request for the data based on test scores was turned down. A circuit court judge sided with the state, but the appeals court pointed out that Florida's constitution has a broad policy of disclosure. The ruling states that teachers will be rated on a "large spectrum of criteria" beyond just the data and that "it is not by itself, the employee evaluation." "Had the Legislature wanted any matter material to a teacher evaluation to be exempt from disclosure, the Legislature would have exempted personnel files as a whole," states the ruling from the three judge panel. Joe Follick, a spokesman for the Department of Education, said the state was analyzing the ruling and had not made a decision whether or not to challenge it. Jennifer Mansfield, an attorney representing the newspaper, told the Times-Union that the ruling was a win for transparency and for parents who want to review the data. "More importantly it's going to provide the voting public the ability to evaluate the legislature's process for teacher review that it has set up," Mansfield said. Andy Ford, president of the Florida Education Association, said he was disappointed with the court ruling. The teacher's union had intervened in the lawsuit after it was filed. Ford called the teacher data collected by the state "deeply flawed." "The evaluation data on teachers that is about to be made public is meaningless, which is why we joined in to enforce the public records exemption and prevent it from being published," Ford said in a statement. "The numbers to be released are subject to misinterpretation. They have not been put in their proper context."


Duval teachers cheer $18.9 million in bonuses (Terrie Brady quoted)


Union deal in Monroe falls apart (Holly Hummell-Gorman quoted)


Bay School Board OKs raises for non-union workers (Diane Wishart quoted)


Palm Beach teacher negotiations posted till November 22 (Debra Wilhelm quoted)


Most Central Florida teachers make the grade on evaluations (Diana Moore and Wendy Doromal quoted),0,6247614.story


McKeel charter board to review acts of superintendent


America's dumbest idea: creating a multiple-choice test generation


The right’s school-for-cash obsession


Still no proof school reform helps


Weingarten tops list of key figures in fight for pensions


Criser top choice for next university system chancellor

A search committee for the Florida Board of Governors voted unanimously Tuesday to recommend Marshall Criser III, a member of the University of Florida board of trustees and president of AT&T Florida, as the next chancellor for the State University System. The Board of Governors will vote on Criser's nomination when it meets in Miami on Nov. 21. The committee spent the morning and part of the afternoon conducting one-hour interviews with Criser and three other top candidates for the position, which became vacant when Frank Brogan stepped down to take the job as chancellor of the Pennsylvania state university system. Committee members said all four candidates were amply qualified and unique in their background and experience, but they said Criser meshed best with their goals and philosophies for the future of the state's 12 universities, 335,000 students and a budget of nearly $10 billion. Criser, son of former University of Florida President Marshall Criser Jr., was a clear favorite from the get-go.


First lady’s new initiative: college, “whatever it takes”


Survey: 81 percent of universities say sequester has directly affected research activities


Time for Florida to put residents' health, jobs first


Another health insurer caught falsely cancelling thousands of health plans

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