Even if Pablo Picasso could be hired to teach art in Florida schools, chances are he would be among many to score poorly under the state's new teacher evaluation process.
That's the belief of Joe Vitalo, president of the Hernando Classroom Teachers Association, who is among many voices across the state opposing the new methodology of evaluating teachers by using student test scores to partially determine an educator's effectiveness.
Under the new rules, some teachers are being evaluated using scores from students they don't even teach — such as kindergarten and 12th-grade teachers and those who teach electives that don't have end-of-course exams or FCAT tests to attach to their students.
Instead, they'll be assessed based on a school-wide student score.
"So you have teachers whose entire career will be based on students who they haven't even taught," Vitalo said. "Accountability is one thing, but these evaluations should at least be based on kids that teachers are actually teaching. As it stands now, teachers could be teacher of the year and still receive a lower ranking.
"All this because the state was in such a hurry to implement a system without taking the time to do it properly."
Currently, he said, union and school district officials are working together to determine if there are ways to work within parameters of the state's teacher evaluation requirements even as education leaders continue to ask state officials for more time to implement the new evaluations.
Superintendent Bryan Blavatt could not be reached, as he was out of town for a conference.
Since the passage of the new teacher evaluation system, which took effect in July of 2011, professional service contracts are a thing of the past for teachers, who once required school administrators to have cause for their dismissal, such as a series of bad evaluations.
Now all teachers will have annual contracts with 50 percent of their yearly evaluations based on student test scores on either the FCAT or an end-of-course exam.
The new evaluation system for teachers would give raises to teachers who receive "Effective" or "Highly Effective" ratings on the four-tiered scale.
Teachers who receive an "Unsatisfactory" evaluation in two out of three years or "Needs Improvement" in three of five years would be ineligible for a new contract.