“I am proud that the first bill I sign is this important legislation that will give Florida the best educated workforce to compete in the 21st century economy,” Governor Scott said. “We must recruit and retain the best people to make sure every classroom in Florida has a highly effective teacher.”
Gary Chartrand now on the state board of education went on First Coast Connect and said this was a great day for teachers and students alike. Unfortunately it turned out only to be a great day for those that want to dismantle public education and who don't believe teachers are professionals.
The premise behind the bill was that if the state ended teacher protections it would improve teacher performance. You know because people filled with fear and anxiety and who can't plan for the future do such a great job.
Also who is going to speak up, say no, or we should try this instead, when they know they can be fired at the end of the year for any or no reason? Fewer and fewer, that's who.
The legislature disingenuously said they thought the Student Success act would weed out poor teachers, but it had the opposite effect as it weeded out teachers who wanted things like job security. Who could have anticipated that if the sate did all it could to injure the teaching profession then it would lead to a teacher shortage, I mean besides everyone everywhere.
The bill also severely undermined the concept of seniority and doubled down on a complicated mathematical formula known as VAM originally designed to identify reproductive trends in cattle.
You know, teachers, cows giving birth, teachers, cows giving birth. Now veteran teachers can be surplussed based on their VAM scores and spoiler it won't mater that they often get the most challenging students because of their experience.
It also stripped bonuses based on education that had long been given. So suddenly in education, higher education was no longer thought of as a good thing. It also meant that teachers could now go deeper in debt by getting advanced degrees and be rewarded with, well the deeper in debt thing.
It put in a provision for merit pay to be phased in, and where I think this has several flaws perhaps the biggest is the state never fully funded it. That 47 cents per student the state gave Duval this year can pay for the raises of about 30 highly effective teachers. This year. Oh and it wasn't long before the state took three percent of all teacher's salary in a pension grab.
Florida's teachers when you factor in cost of living are the worst paid in the nation. Yep that should attract and retain a ton of teachers.
So we fast forward to today when the Brooking's Institute said, We find limited and circumstantial evidence that Florida’s tenure reform slightly increased student test achievement in math and reading.
Sigh, emphasis me.
The Study went on to say:
Which students were more affected by SSA? Certainly those with teachers hired after July 1, 2011. But it is problematic to compare students with new teachers to those with more experienced teachers because experience itself is a factor in student achievement, and because student teacher assignments are not random. Principals hoping to protect new teachers from the law’s effects could have assigned them more high achieving students.
Experience is a factor, ya think? Well I would say the Florida legislature didn't but the student success act wasn't about student success, it was about kneecapping teachers and they did a hell of a job.
Friends it is time for a change while we still have a modicum of a profession left.