Parents are becoming more aware of the quality of the teaching their children receive in Florida’s public schools. Additionally, there are a number of websites that allow students to candidly rate their teachers. Among them is RateMyTeachers.com.
Pine View School in Sarasota County, Florida is unique and its students are considered gifted. Principal Steve Largo writes on the school official website, “The only public school of its kind in the State of Florida and one of only several throughout the country, Pine View takes its ‘tradition of excellence’ very seriously.” [My emphasis]
One of the faculty members at Pine View is science teacher David Yotsuda.
Yotsuda holds a Bachelors Degree in English as a Second Language (ESOL) and English from Hawaii Pacific University, yet he is teaching advanced placement science courses. President Obama stated during the first Presidential Debate that he wanted to add 100,000 science and math teachers. Perhaps the Sarasota County School Board should first determine if they have teachers with science and math degrees teaching science and math, starting with Pine View?
Students continue to question what is happening in Yotsuda’s science classroom.
“Yotsuda recently showed Al Gore’s film ‘Inconvenient Truth’ with the purpose of analyzing ‘how politics impacts science’,” according to Principal Largo. The film was part of an advanced placement environmental studies course taught by Yotsuda. Several parents questioned why a film that has been proven in court to be misleading and is based upon a theory of global warming that has been discredited is still being shown in public schools.
Parents point to what former students have said about Yotsuda and his penchant to wander off topic in the classroom.
In 2009 one student wrote on Yotsuda’s RateMyTeachers.com page, “I was looking forward to actually learning something in his class, but was in for great disappointment. Horrible teacher in my opinion. Does everything but teach. He skips important chapters that are crucial for our advance into the next years. Instead of teaching he shows us movies that are irrelevant to want we have been learning. His subject isn’t even SCIENCE, he used to be a language arts teacher. He doesn’t know the answers to simple science questions and must check the book for the answer.” [My emphasis]
Several former Yotsuda student’s comments include:
“Spends too much time on tangents Some examples: Disney, Hawaii, male roommate, Disney, Tickle me Elmo Extreme, Season Passes to Disney, Volunteering at Disney, Marathon, Solar cars, Disney, Hawaii …
“Obsessed with Disney, his male roommate TOMMY, who likes to play with solar cars and Advil and Hawaii. FYI guys, my roommate just broke the solar car while playing with it at the Hawaii version of Disney …
“Obsessed with Disney. He has a male ROOMMATE who he is willing to call his ROOMMATE instead of his housemate. Also rants about how overpriced Tickle me Elmo extreme costs.”
Other students posted positive comments such as, “Mr. Y was a pretty cool guy, but he gets off topic very easily, and every assignment was so simple. I had a 98 all year. Don’t talk in class or he’ll say you have diarrhea of the mouth … Pretty awesome teacher, if you pay attention he actually covers a lot in class, even if it is indirectly … Two years purposefully. I’ll always remember him, he’s excellent and our study guide once for a final, WAS the final. It was amazing. Oh, and be prepared for stories and a lot of “FYI GUYS~!”
Yotsuda leads the Pine View sustainability program. He is listed as the faculty point of contact for the Pine View Welcome to Sustainability@ PV! website which states, “We, at Pine View School, believe that educational growth and the well-being of society are inextricably tied to the health of the environment. Accordingly, we embrace our responsibility for environmental stewardship and are committed to integrating leading environmental practices and sustainability principles into our learning, teaching strategies and extra- curricular activities.” Yotsuda was behind the Sustainability@PV logo contest.
For a high caliber school such as Pine View it is both fitting and proper for students and parents to judge the quality of faculty members. It appears Yotsuda has no degree in science but is teaching it at Pine View. His students may be the best judge of his classroom performance.
Currently there is no Department of Education procedure for students to candidly rate their teachers and have those ratings posted online. Perhaps it is time to create such a website?
NOTE: The featured photo used is courtesy of Justin Lebar.