Here comes the new STAR, same as the old STAR?
It hasn't been a week since the legislative session ended, but some lawmakers are already having second thoughts about the one of the biggest education issues they tackled. State Sen. Larcenia Bullard, D-Miami, was one of 40 senators who unanimously voted in March for a new performance-pay plan.
Even though the new plan put even more emphasis on standardized testing than the much-despised STAR initiative - we know: all the newspapers said otherwise; they were wrong - Bullard told The Gradebook she held her nose and voted for it anyways because she thought there'd at least be more funding for it. But that didn't happen.
At the end of the day, the Legislature allocated $147 million for the new plan - the same amount it gave to STAR last year. That means it's unclear whether more than 25 percent of Florida's teachers will end up getting bonuses, which is one of the main reasons so many of them opposed STAR. "How are we going to increase the number of teachers (getting bonuses) if we don't have the money?" said Bullard, a member of the Senate education committee. "If I'm sounding angry right now, I am. I'm a little frustrated."
- Ron Matus, state education reporter