Florida House bill SB6, linking teacher pay to student test scores and eliminating tenure for newly hired teachers, was passed early this morning after lengthy debate.
Florida would become the first state in the nation to enact such a broadside on teacher tenure, which Republicans said would reward excellent teachers with higher salaries and get rid of a system that promotes mediocrity.
Under the bill, pay raises for Florida’s 167,000 teachers would be based primarily on student test scores. No longer would years of experience and degrees dictate teacher salary. Instead, pay would hinge on student “learning gains,” as charted by standardized tests, and principal reviews.
In addition, the bill would eliminate tenure job protections for teachers hired after July. New teachers would work on one-year contracts, which would be renewed only if their students show testing gains two out of every three years.
Advocates say it will improve Florida’s public schools by rewarding good teachers with bigger paychecks and weeding out ineffective instructors.
“This is what I like about the bill…If you do a good job, you make more money,” said Rep. Mike Horner, R -Kissimmee, arguing it would motivate teachers and have a “profound effect on the students in this state.”
Many teachers, however, view it as unfair, unrealistic and unworkable.
I think that the idea of rewarding teachers based on their performance is a good one. I have some concerns about basing that performance on student test scores, but can’t think of another non-subjective measure to use.
The question now is whether Gov. Crist will sign the law. He originally indicated that he would sign the bill into law, but recent comments seem to have him on the fence. Calls and emails coming into the Governor’s office have been overwhelmingly opposed to the bill.
What are your thoughts? The comments are open.