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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.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.)