Last year’s big legislative education debate could also be this year’s big issue, according to the chairman of the Florida House education committee.
Rep. Bill Proctor, R-St. Augustine, told the Florida Times-Union that a top priority was to make sure districts were making progress on a law that requires teacher evaluations, implements performance-based pay and eliminates long-term contracts, among other changes.
A controversial bill that, among other things, tethered teacher pay to student performance and put an end to tenure passed last session after former Gov. Charlie Crist vetoed a similar bill in 2010.
In an interview this week, St. Augustine Republican Bill Proctor, chairman of the House Education Committee, wants to make sure the 43-page law is implemented correctly. That and tackling higher education reforms will be his committee’s top two priorities.
“We just want to make sure things go smoothly,” Proctor said of the law. “There is just so much there that I think it is incumbent upon us to make sure things go well.”
The state’s largest teachers’ union has challenged the law in court.
Proctor said he will also focus on retooling Florida’s higher education system, calling all 11 state university presidents to a committee hearing this month. Gov. Rick Scott has said state universities should better match graduates to fields expecting job growth, particularly science, math and technology fields.
Proctor said the committee may write a bill or just put together recommendations.
Lawmakers return to Tallahassee for the Legislative session starting Tuesday.