We all know accentuating the positive is the way the PR game is played (or cherry picking the negative, if you're on the other side of things – and you know who you are). But we can't help but humbly ask, after seeing yesterday's press releases (click here and here), if the governor's office and the Department of Education didn't go overboard by describing what just happened to the bonus program for national board certified teachers as a "highlight" in this year's budget.
As the St. Petersburg Times wrote in this story today, Gov. Crist signed a bill this week that caps the bonus at 10 years; eliminates funding for a related mentoring bonus; reclassifies the award as a "bonus" for retirement calculations; and scraps the state subsidy that paid 90 percent of the $2,500 application fee for other teachers who want to get board certified.
Crist himself called changes to the program "disappointing." So can it still be a highlight? Maybe, given all the budget cutting going on, it's a highlight that the program wasn't zapped altogether?
- Ron Matus, state education reporter