Pickens: 'MAP is here to stay'
Teacher rejection of the new MAP performance-pay plan in more than two dozen districts is "disappointing, but it's their decision," state Rep. Joe Pickens, chair of the House Education Council, told The Gradebook this morning. He also said while the program is likely to be tweaked during next year's legislative session, it won't be axed. "MAP is here to stay," he said.
Pickens, R-Palatka, was among the legislative leaders who asked teachers and other education stakeholders last spring to give their input into designing a new performance-pay plan to replace the much-hated STAR. The result was MAP, which many observers considered more flexible and which even got an approving nod from the state teachers union. Suddenly, the mass outrage spawned by STAR was gone.
But in recent weeks, it's been deja vu all over again. Nearly 30 districts, including Pinellas and Pasco, have said no to MAP, with many teachers raising the same objections they did with STAR. "I can't account for why," Pickens said. "I'm sure there are all kinds of reasons, from philosophical reasons ... to stubbornness, to everything in between."
Pickens said he expects MAP to be reviewed and revised as part of a natural process to find out what works and what doesn't and adjust accordingly. "I think it's going to evolve over a long period," he said. "We're open to suggestions." But he also said mass rejection of MAP would not lead to a "mad scramble" to overhaul it or "change the resolve of the Legislature to implement a permanent merit award plan statewide."
On a related note, the Legislature as part of its budget-cutting process appears poised next week to time-shift funding for MAP (we hope that's an accurate way to describe it), not delay the program, as The Gradebook wrongly reported yesterday. As one respondent wrote: "This is a misreading of what is being done. The bonuses in the handful of districts that are planning on implementing MAP will not be paid until September of 2008, so the Legislature is cutting the money out of the 2007-2008 FY budget with the intention of funding what needs to be in the 2008-2009 FY budget to pay for bonuses earned this school year." Thanks, sincerely, for the clarification.