FEA President Andy Ford was disheartened when the First District Court of Appeal overturned a trial judge’s earlier ruling of releasing flawed evaluation data, also known as individual VAM Scores to be released to the public per the request of The Florida Times-Union newspaper in Jacksonville, Fla. Ford stated, “He cautioned Floridians not to jump to conclusions about the rankings of teachers because the numbers provided by the Florida Department of Education (DOE), based solely upon student test scores, provide an incorrect measure of public school teachers.” Furthermore, “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,” said FEA President Andy Ford.
David Pike, of Land O’ Lakes, Fla., is a Senior Building Representative for the United School of Employees of Pasco (USEP). He has been involved in the union for over 20 years. Pike has been an ESE Teacher in Pasco County for 20 years, and overall has worked over 40 years in Special Education. Pike stated that, “I have endeavored to ensure that our school’s, and all Pasco teacher’s rights and merits are protected. Teachers work hard to maintain high standards and produce quality lesson plans to ensure that our students are receiving a high quality education, in order for them to earn good grades.” Furthermore, Pike emphasized that,“This often means that teachers work many hours beyond the normal school day. Educators deserve the right to be evaluated fairly and appropriately, as well as individually, according to their individual level of achievement.”
Pike expressed that, “If it were not for the actions of the FEA and USEP, this flawed data may have been published unchallenged and would have further degraded public perception of teachers. It is clear that teachers’ rights are valued and protected by USEP.”
Nancy Vasquez, of Spring Hill, Fla., is employed as an assistant principal in the Hernando County School System for eight years. Vasquez is well aware of the pressures, non-negotiable and expectations teachers face on a daily basis.
Vasquez stated, “One of my goals as an administrator is creating relationships with my teachers. These relationships usually focus on my support, respect, caring, and most importantly a sense of belonging for the faculty. I also feel that having a working relationship with the building union representative is essential because communication is key in having a good working environment and boosting morale.” Vasquez further indicated that, “I strongly feel that when teachers’ receive support from their administrators, it is so much easier to have higher expectations and hold them accountable.”
“In order to avoid added stress and pressure, I provide teachers the necessary information they need in order to be successful,” Vasquez reaffirmed. It is essential for Vasquez to let her faculty and staff know she has an open door policy and will respond in a timely fashion when a teacher has a need. “When times like these get tough teachers need to be able to turn to their administrators and the union to encourage and support all the hard work and dedication they demonstrate through their career” said Vasquez.
Pike emphasized that, “USEP will continue to represent teachers so they may be evaluated fairly and appropriately, so they can be viewed positively in the eyes of the General Public.”