Teachers Merit Pay Bill to Be Law Soon?

Just heard this out of Tallahassee where the controversial teacher merit pay bill could be on its way to Gov. Rick Scott to be signed into law. The Florida House will take up final debate on the measure Wednesday before its vote.

If this bill passes, teachers’ pay could be tied to their students’ performance. Teachers would be held accountable for their students’ grades and Florida’s Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) scores, but opponents say it’s not fair to teachers.

Many are saying they would not mind a bonus attached to this but to base their pay on it will open a Pandora’s Box of issues.  “Well, our teachers are in the classroom doing their job and they are focused on preparing their kids for the FCAT next week, and they’re not going to be in Tallahassee and they know that,” said Andy Ford, president of Florida Education Association.The Senate passed the bill (SB 736) last week.

It’s less rigid than one former Gov. Charlie Crist vetoed after widespread protests by teachers, parents, students and many local school officials. The House is set to vote on the bill, which would go directly to the Scott, who has expressed strong support for the legislation.It’s designed to mirror Florida’s plan for a $700 million federal Race to the Top education grant that includes a move to merit pay. Republicans said the move is necessary and that it’s time teachers face the same job performance requirements of other workers in the private sector.

The House speaker, Dean Cannon (R – Winter Park), scheduled 12 hours of debate on this bill, which will be split equally between Republicans and Democrats Wednesday.  I am very interested in the outcome of this and I wonder how the teacher will react if this bill becomes law.

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