The number of the week is...
The state teachers union is offering some ideas in writing for an alternative to the state's controversial performance-pay plan. But its starting point for discussion is boxed into a bigger, $1 billion pay proposal, with the lion's share of new money geared to an increase in base pay.
The Florida Education Association's "High Quality Compensation Plan is one of several expected to get a hearing this week before a key House education committee, which is considering how to amend Special Teachers Are Rewarded, the $147.5-million plan passed by the Legislature last year. The union agrees with more hard-core performance-pay supporters that "the quality of teaching is a key predictor of increased student achievement." But from there, its vision veers widely from the state plan.
It says performance should not be based primarily on student test scores. It says the extra money must be considered regular salary and not a bonus. And it says any new plan must be phased in to "allow the development, implementation, stability and support of a school climate that is receptive." It suggests $150 million for performance pay and $900 million in new money for base pay. Since that $900 million would go towards other school personnel as well, the FEA estimates the average teacher would see a 6-percent pay hike from state money alone.
- Ron Matus, state education reporter