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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Performance pay plan in Florida bills not good enough, Florida Education Association says

22

February

Legislation to change the way Florida teachers are paid and evaluated still misses the mark despite increased public input, the Florida Education Association said Tuesday.

The FEA — Florida's largest teacher union — contended that the way that lawmakers want to craft performance pay plans does not take into account the complexities of today's education system. In conjunction with the Center for Teaching Quality, the group suggested that there are other, better ways to get result-oriented reform that leads to more effective teaching.

Among its recommendations:

  • "Local districts should have the flexibility to create a fair, equitable and educationally sound system for student learning and teacher effectiveness."
  • "The state and local districts should include teacher leaders in the decision-making process."
  • "State and local districts should create teacher development systems that incorporate performance pay."
  • "Get base pay right. Without a competitive base pay, it will become increasingly difficult to recruit teachers and retain them."

"If SB 736 is enacted as proposed, thousands of effective Florida teachers will be falsely branded, resulting in unfair decisions about pay and employment, potential lawsuits and, worst of all, lost educational opportunity for tens of thousands of the state's schoolchildren," said Barnett Berry, CEO of the Center for Teaching Quality. "Teaching is far too complicated to make high-stakes decisions about individual performance based on one standardized test, administered once a year. Only highly trained peer evaluators — for which SB 736 does not provide — should determine which teachers are more effective than others. And those evaluators should use a variety of measures to do so, taking into account all the key elements of good teaching."

The House and Senate versions of the bills are slated to be heard in committees again tomorrow. Several teacher organizations are trying to get people to go testify against the legislation. The Florida Department of Education, meanwhile, announced this morning the selection of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt as a consultant to help create teacher and administrator evaluation systems.

[Last modified: Tuesday, February 22, 2011 12:17pm]

    

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