At least two Jacksonville teachers have Jacksonville lost their minds.

First
the Times Union finds the only teacher in the world who thinks the VAM
measurements are appropriate and good. In Duval County, among the
current 15 semifinalists vying for Teacher of the Year, there are at least two
teachers with negative VAM scores. Desirae Royal, a JEB Stuart Middle School
science and math teacher, had a negative VAM score, but she suspects there’s
some truth in it.
“I feel like I could have had greater values in some areas as far
as student performance,” she said.
Being a mathematician, she loves formulas.
“I love VAM scores, and I love the model because I like the
accountability,” she said. “I grade my students. I work in public service. Why
shouldn’t I be graded?”
The
Kafkateach blog rightfully takes her to task:
Who
is this woman? A Michelle Rhee secret operative? Is she auditioning for the
token Teacher of the Year panel slot on Bill Gates’ propaganda showcase
Education Nation?  The Times Union was smart to interview someone in the
running for Teacher of the Year.  She probably didn’t want to jeopardize
her chances of winning a new Honda Civic by daring to say something negative
about her district’s evaluation system. Sounds like Ms. Royal has an excellent
future as a spokesperson for the Duval County school district, or if she aims
big, the FLDOE. Either that, or she’s completely clueless.  A math and
science teacher who takes no issue with a formula that has been proven time and
time again to have serious reliability and validity issues, even by the same
institute that created the Florida Model http://pareonline.net/pdf/v17n17.pdf, is not
one that I want teaching my kids. Did she fail Statistics 101?
Then we have a TFA teacher writing
into the Times Union praising their TFA network, re: cult. The piece was to
nauseating to find a quote but you can check it out here. 
Cameron Davis the author of a
flowery letter to may be a fine teacher. There may be many fine Teach for America
teachers in other classrooms and other schools too but if Mr. Cameron and they
don’t realize the harm they are causing then they need a reality check.
If you didn’t know it Teach for
America takes non education majors puts them through a five week access course
and then places them in our neediest schools where they are supposed to serve
two years or the exact opposite of what we know to be best for our
children. 
Cities and states all across the
nation are pushing back against Teach for America or refusing to let them come
into their districts. They instead prefer professional teachers or people with
an education background who may develop into life long educators, not hobbyists
who think, I will give that a try. 
Nationally only a little over a
fifth of TFA teachers stay for their third year and the statistics in
Jacksonville are even worse. Let me ask the parents out there one simple
question. Do you want a professional teacher teaching your child or do you want
somebody with very little training, who lacks an education background and who
most likely will only be in a classroom for a maximum of two years before they
are onto their next big thing?
So thanks Mr. Davis, you may be
one of the good ones but it is way past time Jacksonville said no thank you to
Teach for America and worked harder to put professional educators in our
schools. 
You know we have some really great
teachers here and as a group we get a bad wrap. We are often put in positions
where success is elusive and then blamed when it doesn’t materialize.
Marginalized and ignored by the powers-that-be, hamstrung by insipid rules and
polices and barely supported. Despite that however the vast majority are doing
some pretty nice things.

Then we have a few crazy people who don’t know what
they are talking about too. 

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