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Florida Schools Struggle To Find Enough Bilingual Teachers

Royal Palm Elementary School Alexandra Martin has two teaching certifications. She says creating bilingual lessons is twice the work.

Most of the students at Royal Palm Elementary in Miami have Spanish-speaking families. But those families also want their kids to speak – and read and write – more Spanish in school. So teacher Alexandra Martin is leading her 1st grade class through “Vamos Papa,” with each child reading a passage from the Spanish language [...]

Veteran Florida Teachers Wonder If New Bonuses Are Meant For Them

Teacher think lawmakers might have ulterior motives when they created a $44 million bonus program.

“Who are these bonuses for?” It’s a question we heard from teachers over and over again while reporting on the new Best and Brightest Scholarships. They’re not actually scholarships — they’re bonuses worth up to $10,000 for teachers who scored in the top 20 percent of students when they took the SAT or ACT and [...]

New Florida Teacher Bonus Program Draws Complaints

Miami Republican Rep. Erik Fresen came up with the bonus program after reading a book examining top-performing education systems.

In Brigette Kinney’s design class at Ada Merritt K-8 center in Miami, one of the key concepts is editing and revising ideas after getting feedback. Her 8th graders created role-playing games based on books they read. And then adjust the games, after watching their classmates play. Kinney hopes Florida lawmakers will be as open to [...]

Florida Teachers Say Deadline To Apply For New Bonuses Is Unfair

Miami teacher Brigette Kinney qualifies for a new state bonus program,  but disagrees with the concept.

Miami teacher Brigette Kinney said she doesn’t always hear about school news when classes are out for the summer. So Kinney missed the word that lawmakers set aside $44 million for bonuses based on SAT and ACT scores during a special summer budget session. Teachers who scored in the top 20 percent the year they [...]

State Board Of Education Sets New Goals For Some Teacher Evaluations

Jeremy Glazer says teacher evaluations miss some of the most important work he does.

The State Board of Education has approved a new statewide standard for the test-based portion of teacher evaluations. State law requires that teachers are evaluated each year. That evaluation must include how well that teacher’s students performed on standardized exams — and whether they did better or worse than expected, based on a complex statistical [...]

Bill Would Set Minimum Teacher Starting Salary Of $50,000

Beginning teachers would earn at least a $50,000 salary – starting next school year – under a bill filed this week in Tallahassee. Sen. Darren Soto (D-Orlando) filed the bill, SB 280, which cites a need for the state to attract and retain teachers. It seeks to increase their pay without affecting other personnel and [...]

Opinion: For Better Teachers, Larger Classes And Higher Salaries

Sarasota County middle school math teacher Brenda Fuoco, in 2013.

Maybe a charter school in New York City has discovered “The Answer” to Florida’s K-12 education challenges? If so, the school has done so by setting aside Florida’s focus on keeping class sizes small and by instead adopting a strategy that our state has so far ignored – recruiting star teachers with high salaries and [...]

Crist Wants To Pause Penalties During Switch To Common Core-Based Standards

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist says he wants to pause penalties for teachers and schools while Florida transitions to Common Core-based standards and a new online exam.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist said he would pause any penalties for students, teachers and schools while the state transitions to new Common Core-based math and language arts standards and a new online test. Florida school leaders have asked for a three-year pause while teachers get comfortable with the new standards and students adjust to [...]

Two New Studies Find Problems With Teacher Evaluations

Two new national studies raise questions about the how accurate modern teacher evaluations are. The first study, from the University of Southern California’s Morgan Polikoff and the University of Pennsylvania’s Andrew Porter, finds test-based evaluation scores have little to no link to other teacher quality measures, such as how well instruction matches standards and the [...]

Explaining A $50 Million Jacksonville Effort To Recruit And Retain Top Teachers

Teach for America teachers Samantha Sanacore, Eric Sweeney and Denali Lander.

Jacksonville-area businesses and nonprofits are trying to raise $50 million to help recruit and retain top teachers for three dozen of the district’s most challenged schools. The effort, known as Quality Education for All, is intended to help improve schools that have been the center of education-related lawsuits for decades. The money will pay bonuses [...]

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