Florida House Majority Memo:Rewarding Excellent Teachers

April 7, 2010 at 6:55 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

House Bill 7189 by Representative John Legg

  • The number one factor that we can control in education is the quality of the teachers in our classrooms.  HB 7189 advocates a practical approach that recognizes and rewards excellent teachers while promoting greater accountability within our schools. 
  • Our students and schools have made significant gains in the past ten years, and we have many great teachers to thank for that progress.  It is time to reward teachers by increasing their pay for their phenomenal efforts.
  • Without quality teachers, we cannot hope to provide the quality education our students deserve.  The vitality of Florida’s economy demands a highly educated workforce, and excellent teachers are one of the most important factors contributing to the success of our students.
  • Last year, 99.7% of teachers in the state earned a “satisfactory” evaluation, yet 50% of our high school students, 35% of our middle school students and 30% of our elementary students did not make a year’s worth of educational progress.  Clearly the current evaluation system does not reflect what matters most in education: our student learning gains.  If our students are not receiving the knowledge they need, then we must consider other ways to help them achieve success. 
  • The fundamental question is whether a teacher’s salary should be based on their longevity or on their effectiveness in the classroom? 

These common sense education reforms are about investing in what’s best for our children and working to reward our teachers for what truly matters in education: individual student learning gains.

This legislation is focused on making sure that we encourage our best teachers to stay in the classroom and not feel that to move up they need to become administrators or leave teaching altogether.  

We can build more and more schools, we can make class sizes even smaller, but if we don’t have quality teachers leading our classrooms – teachers that can ensure that our students are making learning gains each year – then Florida’s children will be unprepared to compete with students around rest of the world in the global economy for the high-paying careers of the future.

Bill Details

Performance and Differentiated Pay

HB 7189 requires districts to adopt salary schedules that determine salary increases based on performance, while salary increases are currently based on seniority. These performance appraisals will be based on two categories: 50 percent will be based on student learning gains and the remainder on other factors regarding classroom practices including classroom management and knowledge of subject matter.  Individual student progress is a fair and objective measure of teacher performance.  All students are capable of learning gains and rewarding our teachers for their success in the classroom provides recognition great teachers deserve. 

This legislation also requires districts to award differentiated pay based on high-priority locations, critical teacher shortage areas, or additional academic responsibilities.  Educators who teach in lower performing schools, in high clinical subject matters such as science, technology, and mathematics, or with students with special needs, or those who take on additional responsibilities such as mentoring other teachers deserve to be rewarded for this. By recognizing the additional workload teachers in these positions shoulder, we can encourage more teachers to take on these positions in order to better prepare all students to be successful and continue to decrease the gap between the highest performing schools and the lowest. 

Additionally, HB 7189 bases school administrator salary increases on the progress of the school as a whole.  This system further incentivizes principals to recruit and retain the best teachers available. 

To see the full Majority Memo on HB 7189, click here.

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