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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

More on merit pay



The Hillsborough School Board listened to an extensive presentation Thursday night on the Merit Award Program that has generated so many questions from teachers.

We told you about it in today's Tampa print edition of the St. Petersburg Times. It never made it online. Sorry, we're trying to figure out what happened too. For now, you can read the story here.

Here are some of the highlights of the discussion:

  • School officials said they designed the MAP plan so that rewards should be distributed equitably. Teachers of higher-performing students should not be receiving more merit pay awards than instructors of lower-performing students.
  • The district established an "effectiveness score" for each teacher. It ordered instructors by rank in each subject group and went through giving merit pay from the top down until the money ran out. All teachers considered at the 64.9th percentile of their peers or above received the money. There were no situations were a tied teacher missed out.
  • One of the biggest problem areas was the coding of elementary school teachers into the correct peer groups. School officials said they have received 20-30 calls on this point alone. They are reviewing and making corrections as necessary.

School Board member Susan Valdes said she wished everyone could have received the money.  Member Carol Kurdell wished to let teachers know that they have "equal value, even those who didn't qualify for the bonus." Nevermind that very concept of a merit pay award, which Hillsborough has offered locally through its own plan for several years, is predicated on the fact that not everyone gets it.

We'll continue to analyze how the program is working. As you know, Hillsborough is a guinea pig of sorts, as Pinellas voted down the MAP plan, and Pasco has yet to approve one. Keep telling us what areas need review.

[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 9:22am]


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