Flawed teacher’s bonus program based on SAT/ACT scores the Legislature wants to be made permanent

Flawed teacher’s bonus program based on SAT/ACT scores the Legislature wants to be made permanent

for-the-bestThe Tampa Bay Times is reporting that Florida House Education Committee will consider legislation to make the flawed and controversial ‘Best and Brightest’ teacher bonus program permanent. (see ‘Florida’s controversial teacher bonus based on SAT scores returns’; http://www.tampabay.com/blogs/gradebook/floridas-controversial-teacher-bonus-based-on-sat-scores-returns/2255954)

This would mean that potentially the State Legislature would spend $44 million taxpayer dollars a year to give teachers up to $10,000 in bonus wages—but only if they had SAT or ACT test scores in the 80th percentile. The Florida Senate is also going to be taking up this issue and they have a little different approach. They still want to tie the bonus to SAT and ACT scores but they want to lower the scores required down to the 60th percentile in hopes of giving more teachers and opportunity of receiving the bonus.

Here is a thought—if the Legislature wants to reward those teaching (and I greatly welcome that thinking) why not provide those funds proportionately to each district to distribute as they see fit locally. Why is the Legislature micromanaging our local communities? Why are those that are often critical of the Federal Government’s overreaching tactics are doing the same thing to local school districts?

If this is about trying to help with the national and state wide teaching shortage we are entering then there are far better methods to encouraging and incentifying people to become teachers. For example increase teacher college tuition grants which are then tied to minimum number of years of service in a public school. This would both benefit the individual teacher and our schools and communities.

$44 million tax dollars last State budget cycle were set aside to give teacher bonuses due to test scores many of them took as juniors and seniors in high school. Further the Legislature ignored again the concerns of this program expressed by parents, teachers, administrators, superintendents, school board members, and community leaders. We must ask again—when it comes to public educational policies and funding who does the Legislature listen too?

Comments are closed.