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Battle to release teachers' grades

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Updated: 11/20/2013 11:50 pm
JACKSONVILLE, Fla.-- The state's top education leader is deciding whether to appeal a court ruling on teacher grades.

A recent court ruling told the state Education Department that teacher grades should be released. It's called the value-added model. It's a new system that ranks teachers based on how their students progress from year to year.

The state's education commissioner, Pam Stewart, tells Action News it's only part of the big picture.

"I think it's important the entire picture of a teacher be taken into consideration, rather than just a number," said Stewart.

The VAM number, as it is known, is 50 percent of the teacher's total grade. The rest come from classroom evaluations.

"I think it's important to know where the good teachers are," said one parent.

That's what superintendents like Dr. Joe Joyner in St. Johns County worry about. That's why he doesn't want the scores released.

"I'm concerned about the assumption parents will make," said Joyner.

He worries parents will only want teachers who rank high on the list. Stewart tells Action News if the grading system is done right, it will be accurate.

Teachers argue the VAM results from last year aren't accurate. The system has changed. The state can appeal the recent court ruling to release teacher grades. Action News checked, and the state has not made a decision about whether to do that.
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