Florida Teacher Reform Bill Expected to Pass

Wednesday, 09 Mar 2011 01:56 PM

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Far-reaching teacher pay and tenure reforms that were shot down by Florida’s previous governor, Charlie Crist, are back on the table and could become law within a week, The New York Times reports. A revised package looks poised to speed through the state legislative session that convened this week and gain quick approval from Crist’s successor, Republican Gov. Rick Scott.

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Rick Scott
Bills in both Florida chambers would first require all newly hired teachers to sign one-year contracts, starting this July, and would tie their renewals to their evaluations.

In 2014, the evaluations themselves would change, and for all teachers, regardless of years of service.

Student test scores would count for half of a teacher’s evaluation, and a principal’s assessment for half, with raises or dismissals issued accordingly.

The state's teacher unions oppose the legislation as too drastic. But State Rep. Erik Fresen, a Miami Republican, said the bill links teacher pay and employment to performance in needed ways that existing union contracts have avoided.

“If you look across the board, one thing that is consistent is that teacher effectiveness is the most influential variable in a student’s learning,” said Fresen.

“Teaching is disconnected from any other profession in the world. Every profession that I know has some effectiveness input in terms of a salary increase and whether you get promoted or get paid less or paid more,” Fresen added.



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