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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Merit pay heats up



As Florida's school finance folks talk about delaying the implementation of the new Merit Award Program, it's perhaps instructive to note that they're not exactly on the winning end of this debate. NY Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a possible presidential candidate, is touting performance pay on a national level. So, too, for that matter, are political leaders from all sides, Education Week reports.

Yet the issue is not without its downside, or the implementation without flaws, as the Orlando Sentinel has revealed over the past few days. There have been problems with the year-end tests geared to evaluate teachers, and with the calculations over how much the teachers should get.

Meanwhile, some districts, including Pasco and Pinellas, have refused to participate at all.

Still, at least one powerful Florida lawmaker has indicated an unwillingness to even postpone the state's new $150-million program, saying such a move would reward mediocrity while punishing excellence. The movement's direction should become even more clear when the Florida Legislature meets in September to figure out exactly how to trim the budget. Stay tuned.

[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 9:20am]


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