After a marathon debate, Florida’s Republican-controlled Legislature voted to end tenure for new teachers and base teacher evaluations and merit pay partially on improving student test scores.
However the Republican governor, Charlie Crist, a supporter until the final days of debate, may veto the bill. Crist, who’s running for U.S. Senate, says he’s listening to the people, as opposed to waffling.
The shift fueled Capitol buzz that Crist is weighing whether to run for Senate as an independent, rather than face Marco Rubio in a closed Republican primary. Crist trails in the polls and is increasingly estranged from the conservative GOP base.
Under the bill, teachers would work on one-year contracts for the first three years, then be offered multi-year contracts. They would not be paid based on advanced degrees or years of experience. Teachers who receive poor evaluations could lose certification. Five percent of classroom funding would be set aside for merit pay for exemplary teachers and the cost of new tests. School districts that fail to comply with the bill would lose that money.
Teachers hate the bill and predict the state will have trouble hiring teachers if there’s no job security.
Union opposition doomed Florida’s Race To The Top bid, writes Mike Thomas of the Orlando Sun-Sentinel.
Since 1999, Florida has become a national leader in learning gains made by students and in closing the achievement gap between white and minority kids.
. . . But the unions don’t approve, so no money for you.
RTTT graders said: “Florida has dramatically improved student achievement over the past decade as measured by [national reading and writing tests]. Most impressive has been the success of minorities. Black student gains in mathematics are closing the achievement gap and lead the nation. Hispanic fourth grade reading scores are above the national average of all students.”
Update: Mike Petrilli is surprised that Democratic legislators united to vote against ending tenure and adding merit pay, but split on expanding a voucher program for low-income students.