Thursday, March 25, 2010

Florida votes to end teacher tenure

From the South Florida Sun Sentinel, Wednesday, March 24, 2010. See,0,3262837.story  --  
Florida Senate kills teacher tenure pay system; raises tied to student success

By Josh Hafenbrack
TALLAHASSEE - In a major shift, the salaries of Florida's 167,000 teachers could soon be tied to student test scores, rather than seniority and education level.

The state Senate on Wednesday approved a controversial bill by a 21-17 vote to dismantle teacher tenure, a decades-old system in which educators' pay is based on years of experience and whether they earn upper-level degrees.

New teachers hired after July 1 would work on one-year contracts and face dismissal if their students did not show learning gains on end-of-year exams for two years in any five-year period. For them, job security would be based soley on two factors: standardized scores and job reviews by principals. Existing teachers would have future pay raises tied to student scores and reviews but would keep their current job security.

"It takes a sledgehammer to the teaching profession," Sen. Dan Gelber, D-Miami Beach, said Wednesday.

Bill sponsor Sen. John Thrasher, R-St. Augustine, said the bill means teachers who earn high marks will get higher salaries and it "will help put a good teacher in every single classroom."

Despite President Obama pushing merit pay on the federal level, Florida Senate Democrats were unified against the proposal -- and joined by four Republicans in opposition. Still, Republicans, who have a 26-14 majority in the state Senate, had a comfortable margin to push the bill through, which now must be considered by the Republican-controlled House.

Gov. Charlie Crist, a Republican running for U.S. Senate, indicated he likely would sign the bill into law if it passes the Legislature, as expected.

"Generally, I support that," he said Tuesday. "That's how it is for most of us -- you do well, you keep your job. It seems to me that wouldn't be a bad idea in the area of education, too."

Well, as described, this is not really tenure. It is the pay system.
Post a Comment
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.