BOE member: $2.7 billion wasted on bad teachers in Florida
Chris Matthews recently dubbed Rep. Alan Grayson "Captain Cojones," but Florida Board of Education member Roberto Martinez may be gunning for the title himself. Martinez, a former U.S. attorney who is close to both Jeb Bush and Charlie Crist, has become increasingly vocal about two issues: education funding, or a lack thereof, and teacher quality, or a lack thereof.
In this letter to Education Commissioner Eric J. Smith, which will be sent to Crist and state lawmakers, Martinez pulls the two issues together at several points, including in this paragraph:
The total amount budgeted statewide in FY 2008-2009 for the salaries and benefits of the instructional personnel was approximately $13.6 billion. That represented about 70% of the dollars appropriated by the State for education. If we assume that 20% of that workforce is low or non-performing (which may be a low approximation by some estimates), then that represents in excess of $2.7 billion that was wasted and that could have been directed to attract and retain high-quality teachers.
Martinez goes on to call for a comprehensive review of the impact of state law, collective bargaining and school board practices on teacher quality. And he says the state could take the savings from a modified class-size amendment and use it to "increase the compensation for our high-quality teachers, who in my opinion, are significantly underpaid by at least 25% ... "