Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Teacher bill stays on fast track in Florida Senate

During a two-hour discussion Wednesday on the teacher quality bill, 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 teachers.

That prompted Minority Leader Nan Rich, D-Weston, to point out a financial disparity: The district has $100 million from the Gates Foundation to research and implement its new system. The state, meanwhile, is poised to cut school funding.

"Why don't we wait?" Rich asked. "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?"

But Wise, R-Jacksonville, said now is the time to lay the framework to improve teaching. "If we continue to stall and delay, there are kids who will be irreparably damaged," he said.

On Wednesday, lawmakers also filed five amendments to Senate Bill 736, the bill that aims to change teacher evaluations, contracts, pay and terms of employment. Four of the amendments were withdrawn in hopes of keeping the legislation on its fast track to Gov. Rick Scott.

But Sen. Bill Montford, a Tallahassee Democrat and retired Leon County superintendent, held firm. He proposed allowing school districts to grant three-year contracts to teachers evaluated as "effective" or "highly effective," rather than keeping them on annual contracts. Teachers who receive a poor evaluation in two years of three would not be eligible.

Montford said his amendment would give teachers some job security. But the amendment failed on a voice vote.

It "sounds reasonable," said Sen. Nancy Detert, R-Venice. "Yet it is consistent with what we are doing that is not working. Your amendment puts us pretty much back to current law. It's not reform, and it's not change."

The House is set to take up its version of the teacher bill today.

Teacher bill stays on fast track in Florida Senate 03/09/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, March 9, 2011 9:34pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Bucs journal: Kicker Nick Folk has up and downs against Jaguars


    JACKSONVILLE — If the Bucs had hoped for a drama-free night in their kicking game, they'll have to wait another week.

    Bucs kicker Nick Folk celebrates one of his two made field goals against the Jaguars, but he also misses a field goal and has an extra point blocked.
  2. Late night update: Second wave follows Tropical Storm Harvey


    UPDATE: At 11 p.m. the National Hurricane Center said a hurricane hunter plane had determined that Tropical Storm Harvey had formed with sustained winds of 40 mph.

    Three tropical waves are expected to strengthen as they move across the Atlantic Ocean. [Courtesy of the National Hurricane Center]
  3. Stealth anti-Jack Latvala group tied to Adam Putnam campaign


    Politico reports:

     A longtime political consultant for Republican gubernatorial candidate Adam Putnam is behind a website calling one of his rivals in the race, state Sen. Jack Latvala, a “liberal.”

  4. Council gives in to pension dispute with St. Pete firefighters

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG — The City Council was forced to consider its first labor dispute in years Thursday when it gave the firefighters union most of the pension enhancements it has long asked for.

    The firefighters’ union won a pension victory at Thursday’s City Council meeting. [SCOTT KEELER    |      TIMES]
  5. Bucs top Jaguars behind strong first half



    There is a reason why the air in Tampa Bay is filled with playoff talk. If Thursday night's 12-8 Bucs preseason win over the Jaguars is any indication, it's also going to be filled with footballs thrown by quarterback Jameis Winston.

    Doug Martin gets the Bucs’ only touchdown  on a 2-yard run, squeaking past linebacker Telvin Smith in the first quarter. He has five carries for 30 yards.