SB 736 on teacher contracts and evaluations passes first test
The three members attending Thursday's Senate K-12 Committee meeting have unanimously recommended approval of Senate Bill 736, which aims to change the way Florida schools evaluate, contract, pay, hire and fire teachers.
The bill would more closely tie teacher evaluations to student performance, and have districts consider teacher effectiveness rather than seniority in the event of layoffs, among other things. The committee had scheduled a 5-hour session to discuss the bill, leaving time for ample public input.
Public comment - a variety of thoughts both for and against the legislation - ended in less than 90 minutes.
"We are moving, which I think is good," said Sen. Bill Montford, the committee's lone Democrat in attendance and a retired Leon County schools superintendent. "I am willing to support this bil. I think we still have excellent opportunities to keep on debating and keep on improving this bill as we move through."
Chairman Steve Wise, the bill sponsor, agreed there is ample time to put the meat on the bones of the legislation, to make its goals happen by the 2014 implementation date. "We will continue to work as this bill goes through a series of committees," Wise said. "It is not Senate Bill 6," he added, urging the public to read the details before jumping to conclusions about it.
The House version of this bill has not yet been introduced.