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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Teacher merit pay bill passes first House committee



A House subcommittee just passed its version of the teacher merit pay bill after an hours-long session of debate and public testimony from a couple dozen teachers.

The House K-20 Competitiveness Committee vote on proposed bill 11-01 followed the Senate's passage of SB 736 through the Budget Committee earlier Wednesday. Several teachers made the drive from Hillsborough, Pinellas and Alachua Counties, as well as Miami, Deltona and Fernandina Beach.

Some urged members to pass the bill because it rewards teachers who try harder -- they come in early, stay late and develop original lesson plans instead of using worksheets and videos. The current system "doesn't create a sense of professionalism or pride in your work," said Elizabeth Muller, an FSU law student who majored in elementary education and interned with a Tallahassee school.

Others, including Megan Allen, the state's 2010 teacher of the year from Hillsborough County, feared the new evaluation standards would lead to an exodus of teachers at high-needs schools, like hers.

Fresen said change and reform are scary, but members would look back on today and realize they developed a system that gave each student quality teachers and administrators.

"This is just that moment," he said.

[Last modified: Wednesday, February 23, 2011 3:27pm]


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