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Does Performance-Based Pay Have Any Merit?

Background

Florida is a pioneer in the effort to base teacher salaries on student performance and give those teachers with the best results the highest raises, and a bill creating a sweeping new merit pay system was the first legislation Gov. Rick Scott signed into law in March.

Merit pay is a reform pillar of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and the Foundation for Excellence in Education he founded. Bush pushed for the idea while in Florida and is now touting the benefits of performance-based pay nationwide. the idea is to reward teachers who get the best results or most improvement from their students — just as the private sector would pay for performance.

The concept has district-level support too, such as Hillsborough County Public Schools superintendent MaryEllen Elia, herself a former teacher. Elia believes testing students’ knowledge before and after a course will reveal how effective a teacher is.

Data-based analysis of teacher performance is here to stay. Hillsborough County is using a $100 million Gates Foundation grant to design a new system to evaluate and train teachers. Florida won a $700 million federal Race To The Top grant to design a similar statewide evaluation system — which lawmakers now require.

Teachers and their unions object to basing teacher pay on the results of standardized exams designed to test something else entirely, but many teacher unions signed on to the Race to The Top grant.

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12-30 2014Calendar

Implementing New Common Core Standards Florida is one of 45 states that have fully adopted new math, English and literacy standards known as Common Core. Political opposition to the standards built throughout the year in both Florida and across the country. Every Florida grade is scheduled to switch to the new standards this fall. The [...]

Union Worried Testing Could Cause Public To Turn On Common Standards

About 10,000 educators from around the country are in Atlanta this week for the National Education Association’s annual meeting. The group will debate issues from school safety to immigration reform as the NEA develops its legislative priorities for the coming year. Florida Education Association President Andy Ford says Common Core State Standards and assessments will [...]

Classroom Contemplations: The Worth of Value Added

Miami-Dade high school advanced calculus teacher Orlando Sarduy writes out the formula that will grade and help determine the pay of Florida teachers.

Editor’s note: Names of teachers and students have been changed. The new term of art within the educational conversation about how we sort the good teachers from the bad is “value added.” We stole the phrase from economics. But in the educational context, it brings to mind the great George Orwell quote: “The slovenliness of [...]

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Governor Launches Victory Tour To Celebrate Teacher Raises

Gov. Rick Scott hopes teachers remember his efforts to get them more money, now that the Florida Legislature has adjourned. Scott embarked on a Teacher Pay Raise Pep Rally Tour today as part of National Teacher Appreciation Week. Scott requested $480 million for raises. He got the full amount, but it won’t be doled out [...]

Teachers May Receive Raises Sooner Than June 2014

Teachers might not have to wait another year for a raise after all. Leaders in the Florida Legislature are working on a fix to the education budget that provides $480 million in raises for teachers and other school personnel. But according to the budget, that money won’t be in paychecks until June 2014. Lawmakers say a [...]

Lawmakers And Gov. Scott Compromise On Teacher Raises

Lawmakers and Gov. Rick Scott reached a compromise on $480 million in raises for teachers and other school workers. The raises are part of a $74 billion spending plan for the fiscal year beginning July 1. Districts will have flexibility in how the money is awarded based on local collective bargaining agreements. The Governor’s Office [...]

Study: Error Rate Of Test-Based Teacher Evaluations High, But Might Still Be More Accurate

The error rates of test score-based teacher evaluations is "quite high" according to a new report. But the evaluation may still be better than traditional performance measures.

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