Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

Scott-O-Meter

Pay teachers based on performance (merit pay)


"We need to support our hard working, dedicated teachers who understand the importance of getting good results. I believe we should hold people accountable for those results and when they produce, they should be rewarded. In business, we judge that by the quality of work people produce. In the same way, a 'merit pay' plan would reward high-performing teachers and hold school administrators accountable, while under-performing teachers would be challenged to improve."

Updates

New teachers will be paid based on student performance

Florida Gov. Rick Scott was able to deliver on a series of campaign promises with the very first bill he signed into law -- an overhaul of the education system meant to reward good teachers and punish bad ones.

SB 736, which passed the Senate 26-12 on March 10, 2011, and the House 80-39 less than a week later, would tie teachers' raises for the first time to how their students perform in the classroom. It's similar but not as stringent as a bill passed by the Legislature but vetoed by Gov. Charlie Crist during the 2010 legislative session.

The bill, which Scott signed into law on March 24, is consistent with what he promised during his campaign for governor.

"We need to support our hard-working, dedicated teachers who understand the importance of getting good results. I believe we should hold people accountable for those results and when they produce, they should be rewarded," Scott posted on his campaign website. "In business, we judge that by the quality of work people produce. In the same way, a 'merit pay' plan would reward high-performing teachers and hold school administrators accountable, while under-performing teachers would be challenged to improve."

Under the law, current teachers would have the option of keeping their current standard salary schedule or would be able to opt into the new "performance" play plan. All new teachers would enter the performance system.

Starting in 2014, teachers under the performance plan would be rated "highly effective," "effective," "needs improvement" or "unsatisfactory." Three years of student test scores would make up 50 percent of the rating, which would then correspond to a raise -- or not.

Teachers who rate "highly effective" would receive the biggest raises, and teachers who rate "needs improvement" or "unsatisfactory" would receive no raise at all.

The bill also prohibits schools from setting different salary schedules for teachers with advanced degrees, unless the advanced degree is in the teacher's area of certification. And it requires school districts to offer salary supplements for educators teaching in under-performing schools and in critical teacher-shortage areas. You can read the entire proposal here.

There are questions over where the money will come from to pay for the raises, and what the raises for high-performing teachers will be. But a system that pays teachers based on student performance is now in place. We rate this Promise Kept.

Sources:

Miami Herald, "Florida House approves teacher tenure law," March 16, 2011

SB 736, accessed March 23, 2011

Senate plan wouldn't kick in until 2014

Gov. Rick Scott wants to bring his business approach to how teachers are compensated.

Good teachers should get raises, he says. Bad teachers should not.

"We need to support our hard-working, dedicated teachers who understand the importance of getting good results," Scott said during the campaign. "I believe we should hold people accountable for those results and when they produce, they should be rewarded. In business, we judge that by the quality of work people produce. In the same way, a 'merit pay' plan would reward high-performing teachers and hold school administrators accountable, while under-performing teachers would be challenged to improve."

The concept of a merit pay system was part of SB 6, which was passed during the 2010 legislative session but vetoed by Gov. Charlie Crist. Scott promised during the campaign to revisit the major tenants of that proposal, including how teachers get paid.

State Sen. Steve Wise, R-Jacksonville, the chair of the Senate PreK-12 Education Committee, got that ball rolling on Jan. 31, 2011, by filing SB 736. The proposed 2011 legislation would change pay rules for teachers starting July 1, 2014.

Under Wise's plan, teachers hired before July 1, 2014, would be paid based on a grandfathered salary schedule similar to their existing contracts. But teachers hired after that date would receive raises based on performance. Teachers would be rated "highly effective," "effective," "needs improvement" or "unsatisfactory." Student test scores would make up 50 percent of the rating, which would then correspond to a raise -- or not.

Teachers who rate "highly effective" would receive the biggest raises, and teachers who rate "needs improvement" or "unsatisfactory" would receive no raise at all.

On top of that, Wise's bill would prohibit schools for setting different salary schedules for teachers with advanced degrees, unless the advanced degree is in teacher's area of certification. You can read the entire proposal here.

Now that Wise's proposal has started to move through the legislative process, we can move Scott's promise to In the Works.

Sources:

News Service of Florida, "Teacher tenure bill filed in Tallahassee, " Feb. 1, 2011

New York Times, "G.O.P. Governors Take Aim at Teacher Tenure," Jan. 31, 2011

Florida Times-Union, "Merit pay for Florida teachers back on the table," Feb. 1, 2011

St. Petersburg Times, "Tenure often determines if Florida teachers keep jobs," April 9, 2009

SB 736, accessed Feb. 2, 2011