Frontline

Best and Brightest Update

July 18 update: This article has been updated to include a memo from the Department of Education clarifying how school grade scores will be used to determine eligibility for best and brightest. 

July 15 update: This article has been updated to answer questions related to the “Retention” bonus which relies on school grades.

May 29 update: This article has been revised with updated information about changes to the Best and Brightest bonus scheme.

May 23 update: For more information about the settlement to FEA’s Best and Brightest lawsuit see Best and Brightest Lawsuit Questions and Answers.


As part of Senate Bill 7070, all of the previous requirements for Best and Brightest were scrapped, and the program now has three components. For the sake of ease, we will address each of them separately.

Recruitment Bonus: $4,000 one time bonus

K-12 classroom teacher who meets all of the following criteria:

  • Is “newly-hired”
  • Is a “content expert” in mathematics, science, computer science, reading or civics.
    • However, the law does not stipulate the teacher must teach one of those content areas; just that the teacher must be a “context expert” in math, science, computer science, reading, or civics.
  • Since neither the term “newly-hired” nor “content expert” are defined in law, the Department of Education will determine how to identify newly-hired content experts. 

Retention Bonus: $2,500 for Highly Effective/$1,000 for Effective

K-12 classroom teacher who meets all of the following criteria:

  • Rated Highly Effective or Effective
  • Taught in the same school for two consecutive years.
    • To receive the funds in the 2019-20 school year, the teacher must have taught at a qualifying school for both the 2018-19 and 2019-20 school years
  • Taught in a school that “improved an average of three percentage points or more in the percentage of total possible points achieved for determining school grades over the prior three years.”

On July 17th, the Florida Department of Education released a memo clarifying how they will calculate growth in order to determine if a school qualifies for best and brightest. You can read the memo here. 

Recognition Bonus:  The bonus amount is not specified.

K-12 instructional personnel who meet all of the following criteria:

  • Rated highly effective or effective
  • Selected by their school principal.
  • The law does not provide criteria by which principals are to select teachers but does require school boards to adopt policies to determine the criteria.
  • However, this does not mean principals can give this money out however they want. FEA maintains that since the bonus is compensation, the policies by which the recognition bonus is awarded should be negotiated.
  • The recognition bonus would be paid out with whatever funds are remaining after the recruitment and retention bonuses have been allocated.
  • Instructional personnel are defined in state statue as K-12 personnel including the following: classroom teachers, student personnel services, librarian/media specialists, other instructional staff, and paraprofessionals.
  • While the “recognition” bonus does expand the eligible pool, prekindergarten teachers and many education staff professionals are still left out of all three bonus programs.

 

 

Taxpayer Funded Discrimination at Florida’s Voucher Schools

There are hundreds of companies in Florida that have funded voucher schools through tax-credits. The…

Read more about this story

The Reality of School Grades

This year marks the 21st release of the school grades in Florida, and now more than…

Read the rest of this post

Best and Brightest Update

July 18 update: This article has been updated to include a memo from the Department of…

Read more about this story

Best and Brightest Lawsuit Question and Answers

In 2017, the FEA sued the Florida Department of Education for its discriminatory Best and Brightest program. We did this not just because we hoped that those who had been…

Read more about this story

“Bringing Voices Together” education summit draws public education supporters from across Florida

Nearly 1,000 educators, parents and community supporters came together in Orlando on May 18 for “Bringing Voices Together: An Education Summit for Florida’s Public Schools.”In a day marked by thoughtful…

Read more about this story

Recently passed voucher plan may drain nearly $1 billion from Florida’s public schools over the next five years

Florida’s neighborhood public schools could lose nearly $1 billion over the next five years as a result of the legislature’s actions in the last session to vastly expand vouchers for…

Read more about this story

Florida charter schools lack proper oversight

State’s charter school laws rated very poor in new NEA analysis TALLAHASSEE — Florida charter…

Read the rest of this release

May 18 summit will unite supporters of Florida’s embattled public schools

TALLAHASSSEE — In a state where the governor says education is public if taxpayers fund…

Read the rest of this release

Budget won’t undo damage done to our neighborhood public schools

On the eve of Teacher Appreciation Week, the Legislature has made clear that it appreciates…

Read the rest of this release