Why not let Hillsborough get results first?
During two hours of discussion on SB 736, sponsor Sen. Steve Wise frequently invoked the groundbreaking work of Hillsborough County schools as leading Florida to new and better ways to evaluate and pay school teachers.
That prompted minority leader Sen. Nan Rich to point out what she considered a key financial disparity between what Hillsborough is doing, and what the Legislature wants to do: Hillsborough received a $100 million grant from the Gates Foundation to research and implement its new system, Rich noted. The state is poised to cut school funding, with district leaders across Florida worried about layoffs.
"Why don't we wait?" she asked Wise. "We have an incredible pilot going on in Hillsborough. ... Why would we not wait for the results to know we have something that is working?"
Wise responded by saying that if the Legislature stalls, nothing will get done. The time is now to lay the framework for improved teaching, he said, leaving plenty of time to get it done.
"If we continue to stall and delay there are kids who will be irreparably damaged," Wise said.
The bill has been moved to third and final reading, perhaps as early as tomorrow.