Last year, a Florida bill that would have ended teacher tenure, done away with master’s degree pay premiums, and tied all teachers’ pay to test scores created a boatload of push-back from teachers and led to its ultimate veto by then-Gov. Charlie Crist.
Now, lawmakers in the Sunshine State are making a bid to revive the legislation, this time with some additional tweaks and a lot more public input, including that of teachers’ unions and classroom teachers.
As the Orlando Sentinel reported, there appear to be a few more safeguards for teachers in this version, including multiple measures of teacher performance; at least three years of test data; preservation of the master’s degree pay bump if it’s in a teacher’s area of certification; and efforts to grandfather in existing bonus-pay plans. (It’s not clear, though, what would happen for teachers working in grades or subjects without tests. That’s a big issue, as I wrote recently for a story in Education Week.)
Of course, these details are likely to change if or when the bill makes its way through the legislature. Will the teachers’ unions continue to be consulted? What other compromises and additions might happen?
It’s not yet clear where Gov. Rick Scott stands on the bill, although he’s expressed support for a lot of these ideas. It’s equally quite possible that the Florida Education Association won’t much care for this version, either. But at least the union is being consulted—for now, anyway.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Teacher Beat blog.