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Monday, January 31, 2011

Merit Pay: Public Input on Friday, Bill Submitted on Monday

Et Tu Brutus? I am not optimistic. -cpg

From the Orlando Sentinel

By Leslie Postal,

Florida teachers would be judged on their students’ growth on standardized tests, and new teachers would be paid based on that test-score data as part of a new merit pay bill filed today in the Florida Senate.

Sen. Steve Wise, R-Jacksonville, chairman of the Senate’s education committee, filed the “Race to the Top for Student Success” bill.

It is the first merit pay bill filed for the 2011 Florida Legislature session but is similar to plans floated in the past few months by both the Florida Education Department and an education advocacy group.

Wise, whose committee took public comment on the issue Friday, has said he hopes this year’s debate on how to improve schools by changing how teachers are evaluated and paid would be less contentious than last year’s.

The controversial bill lawmakers adopted last year was vetoed by former Gov. Charlie Crist and widely criticized by educators.

“We’re not here to beat up the teachers, we’re not here to beat up the administrators, we’re here for student success,” Wise said at Friday’s meeting.

The new bill, SB 736, would grandfather in current teacher-pay plans but set up new, merit-based ones for teachers hired after July 1, 2014.

The bill would require that at least 50 percent of a teacher’s evaluation be based on student test-score data — preferably three years worth. The data would be filtered into a new system that could take into account factors outside a teacher’s control, such as a student’s absentee rate, the bill says..

Teachers would earn one of four designations — unsatisfactory, needs improvement, effective and highly effective.

Under the new pay plan, they would get raises only if they earned one of the top two ratings.


  1. I keep seeing merit pay thrown around--but never any mention of the dollar amount being talked about. Are we talking a $50, $500, $5,000 bonus for one year, for a teacher making $40,000???

  2. I imagine they will try and do it on the cheap. They are purposely, I believe, vague with the details...