Linking Teacher Pay to Performance Gains Steam in Florida

March 9, 2011  |  

(New York Times) — The Florida Legislature, convening its 60-day session on Tuesday, quickly set its sights on measures that would link the pay of new teachers to student performance and allow school boards to fire teachers more easily for mediocre results.  The final bill is expected to clear the Legislature next week. Unlike last year, when similar legislation was vetoed by the former governor, who considered it too extreme, this slightly softened version is expected to win Gov. Rick Scott’s approval easily.

The far-reaching bills in the House and Senate would shake up a system of pay and tenure in Florida that has existed for decades and would position Florida as a leader among those states taking on teachers’ unions. Supporters say it will make it easier to reward and promote the state’s best teachers, not by their longevity, but by their work in the classroom. This, they say, will ensure that the lowest-performing schools can lure more effective teachers. Representative Erik Fresen, a Republican from Miami who is sponsoring the House bill, said the measure would do away with a system that did not benefit the best teachers or help struggling students and replace it with one that would actually assess how well a teacher performed.

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