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Saturday, March 5, 2016

If teachers don't want the Best and Brightest scholarships, then why is it about to become law?

Best and Brightest

Despite the fact teachers have overwhelmingly come out against the Best and Brightest scholarships, which awards bonuses based upon teacher’s SAT scores the legislature keeps pushing it forward and since this is forty four million dollars of our tax payer money I think we need to ask why.

I believe it has to do with Teach for America. If you didn’t know, Teach for America takes non education majors, puts them through a six week access course and then places them in our neediest schools where they are supposed to serve two years. According to studies about a sixth don’t finish their commitment and most leave after their two years are up, ensuring an ever revolving door of novice teachers in our neediest schools. Since as of now first year teachers are eligible for the bonus, I believe the Best and Brightest scholarships are nothing more than a recruitment tool to bring more TFA teachers to the state.    

Teach for America is currently only in a few Florida districts but perhaps the two most important when it comes to education funding, Miami and Jacksonville. You see Miami representative Eric Fresen is the house member who introduced the bill, Board of Education member Rebeca Fishman-Lipsey is both from Miami and a Teach for America alumni, and fellow board member Gary Chartrand brought Teach for America to Jacksonville.

This means three of the biggest education players in Tallahassee all with close ties to Teach for America are pushing a bill most teachers don’t want, and furthermore it is a bill most people don’t even think makes sense as there is no relationship between effective teaching and SAT scores.

Even if you disagree with my assertion about Teach for America, since teachers are against the Best and Brightest scholarships, you should ask yourself why is it about to come a law and isn’t there a better use of forty-four million dollars.

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