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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

'The glitzy solution'



Jade Pinellas teachers union chief Jade Moore (left) doesn't think much of an idea being floated by state Sen. Don Gaetz, R-Niceville , to tweak the state's teacher bonus plans. Gaetz is proposing to add a differential-pay component to those programs, so effective teachers in high-poverty schools can earn even bigger bonuses than their peers.

Moore told The Gradebook that Gaetz's idea was a "glitzy solution" that would be better spent on things like longer school days and more time in pre-K.

Moore said poverty remains the biggest factor in student performance and that keeping more experienced teachers in high-poverty schools longer wouldn't bring much improvement. "I guarantee you if you put 25 rookie teachers in Garrison Jones (Elementary), that school would still get an A," Moore said. "And I guarantee if you put 25 national board certified teachers in Lakewood Elementary … they might go from a D to a C."

Moore questioned whether bigger bonuses would still be big enough to reduce turnover. But even if they were, he said, in this budget climate, the point is moot. "Could I justify right now spending $10,000 more having a teacher teach at Lakewood or Seventy Fourth Street (Elementary)?" he said. "I couldn't get that past anybody."

- Ron Matus, state education reporter

[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 9:57am]


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