Press Release

FEA applauds new lawsuit against bonus scheme

TALLAHASSEE — The Florida Education Association (FEA) applauds Morgan & Morgan for its lawsuit announced today challenging the Florida Department of Education’s handling of the Best and Brightest bonus program.

On the heels of FEA’s successful lawsuit on a separate challenge to Best and Brightest, today’s announcement serves as a reminder that bonus schemes do not work. It is no secret that Florida’s teachers are paid amongst the worst in the nation — 46th in average teacher salary.

For years, legislators have claimed that the Best and Brightest bonus is a tool to attract and retain teachers. The program has been around long enough now that the evidence supports what we already knew — it has failed completely in the goal of recruiting and retaining.

To further highlight the program’s absurdity, the plaintiff in the lawsuit was twice deemed among the “Best and Brightest,” yet he was not rehired. Let this sink in: He was awarded more than $13,000 in bonuses for his exemplary teaching performance and then was asked to leave without even being given a reason why. It’s hard to think of a worse way to recruit and retain teachers than through the Best and Brightest program.

It is unfathomable that the Legislature continues a program that so blatantly fails our teachers at a time when we are seeing rapidly growing teacher shortages.

“If the governor and the Legislature are serious about every child’s future, they should do more to address the significant teacher shortage Florida is experiencing. They must commit to investing in educator salaries instead of bonuses,” said FEA President Fedrick Ingram. “But money alone is not enough. It is time to put an end to a decades-old, broken evaluation and accountability system, and focus on what works for our students. It is time to make sure our students have the resources and opportunities they all deserve.”

Before the first bonus program for Florida’s teachers was implemented in 2006, Florida’s teachers ranked 29th nationally in average salary. Since then, Florida’s Legislature has tried one failed bonus program after another — including now the third version of Best and Brightest.

CONTACT: Joni Branch, (850) 201-3223 or (850) 544-7055


The Florida Education Association is the state’s largest association of professional employees, with more than 145,000 members. FEA represents pre K-12 teachers, higher education faculty, educational staff professionals, students at our colleges and universities preparing to become teachers and retired education employees.

Annual Contracts: An Attack on Teacher Professionalism

Part III: Annual Contracts and Due Process   The first article in our series of how Florida’s education policies are…

Read more about Annual Contracts: An Attack on Teacher Professionalism

Best and Brightest Update

October 3rd Update: The State Board of Education will be meeting on Monday, October 7th…

Read more about this story

VAM Scam

Part II:  Value-Added Measures: Valuing Meaningless Data over High-Quality InstructionThe first article in our series…

Read more about this story

What teachers want parents to know

One thing we know about Florida Education Association members is they are deeply committed to the success of every student. They also set high expectations for their students, and parents…

Read more about this story

Best and Brightest Lawsuit Question and Answers

Click here for information on the Morgan & Morgan lawsuit on Best and Brightest  FEA's Lawsuit Background and FAQs In 2017, the FEA sued the Florida Department of Education for its…

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…

Read more about this story

FEA applauds new lawsuit against bonus scheme

TALLAHASSEE — The Florida Education Association (FEA) applauds Morgan & Morgan for its lawsuit announced…

Read more about this story

Florida charter schools lack proper oversight

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

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