Friday, April 9, 2010

Florida Legislature Passes Landmark Merit Pay Plan

The Florida Legislature just approved a sweeping teacher merit pay plan, which would tie pay directly to student achievement. If enacted, it would be the first-of-its-kind in the nation.

Currently, Florida teachers are paid based on how many years they teach and how much education they earn.  Under the new plan, teachers' pay would be tied to student performance and student learning gains on standardized tests.

In addition, the legislation would eliminate tenure for Florida’s teachers. Currently, teachers earn tenure (or continuing contracts) after three years of teaching. If the new bill is signed into law, Florida teachers would begin working under one-year contracts in July.

In Idaho, teachers are also paid based on experience and education. After three years, they sign a continuing contract.

In 2008, Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna presented a pay-for-performance plan to help recognize and reward classroom teachers by offering bonuses for improving student achievement based on schoolwide results, working in hard-to-fill positions determined at the local level, or taking on leadership duties within their school or district. Unlike the Florida plan, it would have built upon the current pay system, instead of changing the pay system completely. The plan did not pass by one vote in the Idaho Senate.

In Florida, the legislation passed the House at 2:26 a.m. today after hours of debate. It now heads to Florida Governor Charlie Crist for his signature.

Read the full story from The Orlando Sentinel. 

~ Melissa M.

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