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.