Teachers & Parents Split On Merit Pay

MIAMI (CBS4) – The makings of a showdown in Tallahassee appear to be taking shape as the Florida Senate education committee is set to debate teacher pay.

“We have to have a measuring system because as a parent, you want to make sure teachers are doing a good job,” Scott said.

State Senator Steve Wise has filed legislation that would partially base teacher salary increase on test scores, and allow school boards to put new hires on one-year contracts, according to the News Service of Florida.

A bill creating a merit pay system passed the Republican-led legislature last year, but it led to teachers, students and parent to rally against it. Then-Governor Charlie Crist eventually vetoed the bill.

The new bill would grandfather in current teacher pay plans, but set up merit-based ones for teachers hired after July 1, 2014. Half of the scores given to teachers would be based on the test scores students received on standardized tests.

Teachers and other educators argued that basing their pay strictly on test scores would run the risk of teachers only teaching the test and not how to learn.

But, some parents believe the concept of merit pay for teachers will be a benefit for everyone.

“They’re going to do a better job, work harder for our kids, it will be better for all of us,” said parent Rejane Stronko.

But teacher Valerie Arena said it’s difficult to link student performance with teacher salaries because there are too many variables.

“We have the kids one hour a day, the parents have them the rest,” Arena said. “You can’t equate this to the public sector where you are selling a product.”

Wise hopes to bring the bill to a vote before the Florida Senate by the second or third week of March. But, he is waiting for school superintendents, the school boards, and the teachers’ union before he moves forward.

The debates will feature an appearance by controversial former D.C. public schools chancellor Michelle Rhee.

The former chancellor fired long-serving teachers who she thought weren’t performing well and pushed a plan that gave high performing teachers more money if they agreed to give up tenure, according to the News Service of Florida.

Rhee is currently serving as an informal adviser to Governor Rick Scott.

(© 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The News Service Of Florida contributed to this report.)

More from Joan Murray
  • Josh

    The woman advising Mr. Scott, Michelle Rhee, is a failed superintendent who has 3 years of teaching experience and readily admits that she used duct tape to quiet her 35 students, as she had such poor classroom management.

    Florida’s in grave danger if she has her way.

  • carmen

    Sure, the merit programs sounds good, but it needs a little improvement. 1st, for the kids who don’t do their homework, the parent must pay the teacher $50/per missed assignment. 2nd, the governor’s pay should be based on how the students perform too, since the teachers can only do so much when their funding is steadily being decreased. 3rd, let’s target the cops and firefighters for the crime on the street and the houses that catch on fire. ULTIMATELY, Teachers do not have mind control, and cannot force students to study…HEY MOM & DAD that’s your job. Stop passing responsibility onto someone elsen

  • M Westie

    Both Rick Scott and Michelle Rhee are clueless. Rhee has very little classroom experience and Scott is a thief.

  • kenny

    teachers lets begin to discourage kids not to go into this profession. lets also tell kids to expect the rules to be changed in the middle of their game because the rules are being changed for the teaching profession and as much as they want you to believe this is for the children it’s about money.


    Gov. Scott, nor his advisers have any clue as to what goes on in Miami-Dade’s Schools. I think he should stick to talking with his “croonies.” Mayor Julio Robaina, should also address his “croonies.”

  • MiamiMex

    You get what you pay for.

    I saw a chart that shows that Miami Dade pays teachers worse than any other urban school district.

    What do we expect?

    Teachers with quality education are going to go elsewhere.

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