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Press Release

Thursday, June 2, 2011

DOE Press Office
(850) 245-0413

Education Commissioner Gives Conditional Approval of Independent Committee's Recommended Student Growth Model

~ Student growth model to play important role in new teacher and principal evaluation systems ~

TALLAHASSEE – Florida’s Commissioner of Education, Dr. Eric J. Smith today announced his conditional approval of the Race to the Top (RTTT) Student Growth Implementation Committee’s (SGIC) recommendations for Florida’s new value added student growth model. Meeting since late March, this independent group of teachers, principals, parents, teacher educators, business leaders and other education stakeholders was charged with developing recommendations for a student growth model that fairly and accurately measures a Florida teacher’s performance as it relates to the academic improvement of his or her students.

“I am tremendously pleased with the work of this committee and the professional, open and thoughtful manner in which they arrived at their recommendations for a model that Florida can truly call its own,” said Commissioner Smith. “I believe these recommendations hold true to our shared mission of recognizing and rewarding our hardest working educators and improving the academic outcomes of all students.”

Florida law requires the Commissioner of Education to select a formula that measures individual student learning growth on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT). Commissioner Smith’s conditional approval of the SGIC’s recommendations effectively produces a formula based almost entirely on the input and expertise of independent education stakeholders from throughout the state.

As part of his conditional approval, Commissioner Smith requested further clarification on the Committee’s “school component” recommendation. At the request of the committee’s Chairman, the group will reconvene for an additional meeting to further discuss this component and provide the requested clarification. This meeting will occur prior to June 8th where Commissioner Smith will make a final determination on this specific recommendation.

“As a committee we worked hard to develop recommendations that bring even-handed objectivity to Florida’s teacher evaluation process while honoring the extraordinary challenges met by our teachers,” said Sam Foerster, Chairman of the SGIC. “I’m pleased to see that Commissioner Smith has offered an initial approval of our recommendations and granted us additional time to further clarify one of its key components.”

For more information about the SGIC, including their conditionally approved recommendations, visit Race to the Top Student Growth Implementation Committee.