What's on tap for Florida teachers?
It's basically a given these days that Florida will change the terms of employment for public school teachers. Face it. As Pasco teachers union president Lynne Webb recently pointed out, if Rick Scott had been the governor a year ago, Senate Bill 6 would already be in place.
Now Scott is governor, and the Legislature is filled with more conservatives than the group that ran the place last spring.
So the question becomes, what will the changes look like?
Patricia Levesque, chair of Scott's education transition team, offers a glimpse in a Power Point presentation to the Florida Association of School Administrators. (Download the document below.) In it, she compares current law, the proposals within SB 6 and the latest recommendations from the initiative promulgated by Jeb Bush's Foundation for Florida's Future (which Levesque runs).
Some of the ideas could gain support. For example, the new initiative suggests using teacher performance evaluations rather than seniority as the primary factor in determining reductions in force or layoffs. Parents might find such a change reasonable, if the goal is to have the best teachers regardless of years of service in the classrooms.
Others likely will be a much harder sell. Consider the recommendation to use a school's overall test results to rate the performance of teachers whose subjects are not tested by the state. It's tough for teachers and the general public alike to see how that would be fair.
The buzz coming out of Tallahassee is that whatever bills come forth on the issue, they'll come out early and be taken care of in the first few weeks of session. So keep an eye out for drafts and filings, and let the debate begin again.