I have been meaning to write this post for a while. The Pasco school district recently contracted with TNTP, a national non-profit organization working to end educational inequality by ensuring that all students get excellent teachers, for a deep dive evaluation of its district.
My hat is off to Kurt Browning for his willingness to take such a real look at how Pasco is doing, that takes guts! The final report is Preparing Pasco County Students for College, Career & Life.
The report analyzed how well Pasco is doing in teaching all its students on the new Florida Standards, and is well worth reading in its entirety.
A few things to keep in mind when looking at this report- while this report is about Pasco, Pasco is not an outlier school district, of Florida’s 67 districts it would probably be a typical district, so this report is probably a synopsis of how the entire state is doing, very few districts have different policies in place.
The bottom line from this report is basically that Pasco is failing on many levels to do even an adequate job instructing students on new standards.
This should not be surprising given the report’s findings on what Pasco is failing to do to recruit retain and keep excellent teachers and remove poor teachers. The evaluation of the Pasco teacher evaluation system highlighted that even though good information on teacher effectiveness is available to the district, the evaluation system does not reflect this. For example, a Pasco teacher with fewer than 25% of students making expected growth growth over 3 years is ranked exactly the same as a teacher with over 80% of students making expected growth- among the best and the worse ranked the same. And for teachers where fewer than 50% of students met expected growth, over 85% were rated highly effective, making a mockery of a highly effective rating.
And, Pasco is taking no real steps to keep good teachers and get rid of poor teachers, they are losing more teachers in the top 20% than teachers in the bottom 20%.
Again don’t forget that while this study is of Pasco, this is true of almost every district in Florida. It highlights that districts need to start showing truly excellent teachers some respect, and treating them as the precious and rare commodity they are, if they are to bring students along on the new standards.