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Teachers better than New England Patriots

• Mike Thomas

OK, I admit to being confused.

Education reformers have long complained that almost all teachers receive good job performance reviews, which makes little sense given the wide disparities in teacher effectiveness.

And so they have pushed for including student achievement in teacher reviews.

This caused an uproar in teacher unions, which detected a plot to begin mass firings of teachers. Andy Ford, of the Florida Education Association, has been particularly vocal in attacking the state’s assessment system.

Well, Florida has just released its new evaluations, which include student achievement.

And guess what! Almost all teachers, 97 percent to be exact, received either effective or highly effective ratings.

I doubt 97 percent of the New England Patriots, Seal Team 6 or Gabriel’s angels are rated as effective or highly effective.

Of 157,000 evaluated teachers, only 500 received unsatisfactory ratings. So much for punitive assessments and mass firings.

This makes me wonder a few things.

What exactly has changed from the old evaluations?

Why is Andy Ford still complaining?

When you also consider the over-abundance of A and B schools in Florida, is accountability turning into yet another entitlement program?

Are we focused more on placating adults than we are on improving student outcomes?

And lastly, can my employer use this evaluation system when it comes time for my annual job review?

About the author

Mike Thomas @MikeThomasTweet

Mike Thomas serves in the communications department, writing editorials and speeches. Prior to joining the Foundation, Mike worked for more than 30 years as a journalist with Florida Today and the Orlando Sentinel. He has written investigative projects, magazine feature stories, humor pieces, editorials and local columns. He won several state and national awards, and was named a finalist in the American Society of New Editors’ Distinguished Writing Award for Commentary/Column Writing in 2010. As a columnist for the Orlando Sentinel, he wrote extensively about education reform, becoming one of its chief advocates in the Florida media. Mike graduated from the University of Florida with degrees in political science and journalism. His wife is a teacher and he has two children in public schools. Contact Mike at