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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Bonuses don't provide security, FEA's Ford says



Andyford As long as base pay for Florida teachers lags behind the national average, rewarding educators based on merit is not the solution some think it is, a statewide teachers union official told the St. Petersburg Times editorial board this morning.

Teachers want security, something a bonus system simply doesn't provide, said Andy Ford, president of the Florida Education Association. Pay teachers a decent wage, Ford said, before moving the discussion to rewarding them for raising student achievement.

Offering teachers more money to work at more challenging schools isn’t necessarily the answer either, Ford said. Far more important in his opinion is making sure teachers at high-poverty, high-minority schools are supported by the principal and assistant principal.

Also important: ensuring that high-needs schools have enough social workers on hand so teachers can concentrate on teaching.

Ford’s remarks came as districts, including Pinellas, are considering the possibility of bonuses for teachers in high-needs schools.

Donna Winchester, higher education reporter

[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 10:00am]


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