Scott still holding out hope for bigger teacher paydays

Gov. Rick Scott remains convinced that teachers across the state will get a flat $2,500 raise in their salaries next year without any conditions. But lawmakers aren’t singing the same song as Scott. Sunday night, House and Senate negotiators agreed they would set aside $480 million for teacher pay raises, but the proposal would require that the money be tied to teacher performance. The measure would also offer raises to all instructional personnel, such as classroom aides, meaning that the amount per teacher would be less than $2,500. Scott and his staff are still talking like teachers will get the full $2,500 though. Scott announced at his news conference Monday how important it was that teachers were getting pay raises and noted later that there was still time for lawmakers to make changes. “We need to do across-the-board $2,500 pay raise for each and every one of our classroom teachers,” he said. Senate Education Chairman Bill Galvano, R-Brandenton, said at a budget negotiation conference, a little more than an hour after Scott made his remarks, that the Legislature proposal indeed tied the money to performing and noted that the individual districts had to weigh in through the collective bargaining process with the unions to determine how the money was distributed. “Whether that turns out to be a $2,500 raise per teacher, that’s unlikely,” Galvano said.,0,

 “I have my priorities. The House and Senate have their priorities. We have two weeks left in session, so we’ll see how well each of us get our priorities, and how well our session ends up,” Scott told reporters when asked about his pay-raise plan. Scott had an ally at Monday’s signing ceremony for the Career and Professional Education Act. Orange County Schools Superintendent Barbara Jenkins was less circumspect in speaking in favor of an across-the-board raise -- and against tying it to teacher evaluations. “I want to stress again: Pay for performance is to start the subsequent year, 2014-15,” she said, standing a few feet away from Gaetz and Weatherford. “It is a good time to say ‘thank you’ to our teachers.”

The FEA's Andy Ford is incensed about the Legislature's move to make proposed teacher bonuses merit-based. "The leaders of the Florida Legislature are obsessed with merit pay — apparently only for public school teachers and on a portion of state workers' pay," Ford blasted in a statement released Monday morning. "All school year we have shown that Florida's teacher evaluation system with its reliance on standardized testing is flawed and chaotic. Two-thirds of Florida teachers are being evaluated on students they do not teach or on subjects they do not teach. Yet the Republican leadership in the Legislature has seen fit to apply that unfair system in doling out pay raises for the coming school year." (Andy Ford quoted) (Andy Ford quoted),0,6939948.story (Andy Ford quoted) (Joanne McCall quoted) (Joanne McCall quoted) (Brandt Robinson quoted) (Donna Mutzenard quoted) (FEA mentioned)


With $1 billion more for schools, education conferees hand keys to budget bosses


Duncan urges Florida to work on evaluations

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan is urging Florida to quickly address any problems with its new teacher evaluation system, which grades instructors in large part on students' standardized test scores. In an interview with The Associated Press on Monday, Duncan said Florida is one of many states instituting ambitious education reforms and finding it needs to make corrections along the way. "If something doesn't make sense, we should move rapidly to fix it," he said. Teacher unions have sued Florida and three local school boards over evaluations that grade some teachers on subjects and students they don't teach. The lawsuit is backed by the National Education Association and the Florida Education Association and includes seven teachers around the state as plaintiffs. None of the plaintiffs instructs math or reading in the grades that the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test is given. Under the Student Success Act passed in 2011, 50 percent of a teacher's evaluation must come from statewide assessments like the FCAT. The plaintiffs argue the new evaluation system unfairly judges instructors who don't teach subjects or grades covered by the FCAT by grouping them all together as an "instructor team" and judging them based on the collective FCAT scores of students at the school. Duncan said he can understand the rationale behind creating incentives for every adult in a school to work together in ensuring a child's success. But he's not convinced 50 percent is the right measure. "I'm a big believer of working in teams," he said. "That makes a lot of sense. So again, there's a real nuance here. Should it be 50 percent? I'm not quite sure on that one." Duncan added that with many reforms underway, including implementation of the Common Core academic standards and new assessments, "It's going to be a hard, choppy couple of years." For that reason, he said, it's important for states to be able to adapt and make changes where needed. He pointed to Tennessee as an example of a state that made significant mid-course corrections. "I think Florida can get to a much better place," he said.


Hernando Teacher of Year illustrates flaws in evaluation system (Bethann Brooks and Lynne Webb quoted)


Fix teacher evaluations


Children: Get high scores or your teacher will be fired


Will Florida pass parent tricker bill?

Last year, Florida state Senators failed to pass a parent trigger bill because not a single parent group in the state supported the bill. Parents came from across the state to testify against the legislation. They accurately saw the bill as a transparent effort to trick parents into handing their public school over to a charter corporation. The bill comes up for a vote in the next few days. Jeb Bush and his surrogates are working hard to get the bill through this time. Senators have offered a flurry of amendments to try to remove some offensive features. But Florida parents remain united in opposition to this blatant effort to enrich charter corporations. Every Florida legislator should read the exposé of the parent trigger that was reported here by Yasha Levine..


SBOE back in charge as final authority over parent tricker


FEA targeting Brandes with this attack mailer


Road to graduation eases

High school students no longer will face the tough graduation requirements passed three years ago, under a sweeping education bill Gov. Rick Scott signed into law Monday. The new law, which goes into effect July 1, is designed to prepare all students -- both college-bound and those looking for good jobs after high school -- with skills needed to compete in the workforce. “This bill moves us in the direction of making sure that students master the essentials that they need to know during high school,” said Sen. Joe Negron, R-Stuart. “We want to give every student the opportunity to earn their high school diploma. We don’t want to set up barriers toward them achieving that. At the same time, we want to make sure they master the basic information.” The law will let students better tailor their education to their future goals, said Rep. Thad Altman, R-Rockledge. “I think we’re forcing students to take coursework that they may not be prepared for, they may not be interested in at that point in high school, and it’s a waste of their time and energy,” said Altman, whose district includes part of northern Indian River County. “I think we’ve gotten too aggressive in forcing academic coursework that is completely and totally unrelated. If you want to be a paramedic or EMT, you’re better suited taking biology than algebra II. You’re not going to use algebra II.”


Monroe School Board votes 5-0 to uphold furloughs (Holly Hummell-Gorman and numerous teachers quoted)


Collier teachers union rejects administration's offer to delay raises (Jonathan Tuttle quoted)


Transition team: Manatee schools hobbled by split board (Pat Barber quoted)


Why parents could get more control over their child’s special education plan


Senate panel OKs bill to eliminate group that oversees high school sports (Ron Meyer quoted) (Ron Meyer quoted)


What's the score in Florida schools?


Cyberbullying bill headed to Senate


State may shift domestic security money to schools


A presidential pat for young scientists


Claims on mayoral governance don’t stand up to scrutiny


Michigan schools chief: Secret work group should be disbanded


Revoked charters could be forgiven $12 million in loans in Indiana


Bright Futures darken


Never-ending conflict at FAU,0,5098943.story


FSCJ begins looking for new president


Voting rights groups assail Senate elections package


Strip harassment of supervisors from Florida’s election bill


Legislators are prepared to adjourn with no Medicaid plan (can you say special session?)


Once down and out, Florida job market gathers national steam


Lawmakers grow skeptical of tax breaks, incentives


Governor makes strong push for tax break


In Lakeland senator’s bills, questions about personal benefit


Legislators to help baseball teams, cities


House favors land programs, Senate favors water projects in budget standoff


Despite petition, Legislature to do nothing to help springs this year


Repeal law that sticks public with risk for building nuclear plants,0,4002403.story


The incredible shrinking budget deficit


Flights delayed across country amid budget-cut furloughs of air controllers


Yup: Cutting spending means … you have to cut spending


Ginsburg eyed as possible retirement

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