Best and Brightest bonus survives first Senate stop despite heavy criticism
Despite heavy skepticism, the Florida Senate Education Committee has kept alive an effort to extend a controversial bonus based on teachers' ACT and SAT scores. The committee had been seen as the most likely spot where the program, which many teachers have roundly attacked, would fall apart.
Sen. Dwight Bullard, D-Miami, opposed the bill.
"The rewarding of teachers isn't the problem," said Bullard, who is a teacher. "It's using an assessment that one takes when they're 17 years old to qualify a teacher."
But Republicans pushed the measure, which has been a House priority, to its next committee stop.
"We should try to get (teachers) a reward in a more sincere form," committee vice chairwoman Nancy Detert said, blasting the bill as "ridiculous" but voting to move it. She urged House leadership to "please make it a bill we can actually be proud of instead of ashamed of."
See the developing story here.
The Best and Brightest scholarship has been a House priority, but has not received much interest in the Senate ever since its introduction a year ago. The $44 million that went toward the concept this year came as a late add to an appropriations bill during a June special session, without a full Senate discussion.