'The glitzy solution'
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