Hillsborough's Gates reforms push forward
TAMPA -- Senate Bill 6 may be history, but teacher accountability measures are moving full steam ahead in Hillsborough County.
On Monday the district named around 100 teachers to serve as peer evaluators or mentors under its $100 million partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Those positions serve as a critical linchpin in the district's efforts to roll out merit pay and weed out underperforming tenured teachers.
The peer evaluators will be responsible for 30 percent of new and veteran teachers' ratings by next fall, with student performance and principal evaluations making up the remaining 70 percent. Rookie teachers will get even more support, but district offficials say they might be pushed into a fourth, probationary year if they don't meet heightened standards for granting tenure.
Of course, there might still be some drama in Hillsborough. The district has said it anticipates dismissing up to 5 percent of its 8,500 tenured teachers annually for low performance under the new system, though officials say the true number will probably be lower. And the entire Gates plan -- from peer evaluators to merit pay -- must still be negotiated with the teachers' union, whose leadership has been supportive of the effort.
-- Tom Marshall, Times Staff Writer