Saturday, February 19, 2011

House Files "Regarding Teacher Quality" Bill

The Florida House announced the filing of the Regarding Teacher Quality Proposed Committee Bill (PCB) on February 16:

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, February 16, 2011 Contact: Lyndsey Cruley, (850) 487-8148 Joint Statement by Representatives Bill Proctor and Erik Fresen Regarding Teacher Quality PCB Filed in the Florida House Tallahassee, Fla. – Representative Bill Proctor (R-St. Augustine), chair of the House Education Committee, and Representative Erik Fresen (R-Miami) chair of the House K-20 Competitiveness Subcommittee and co-sponsor of the proposed committee bill (PCB), today released the following joint statement regarding the filing of the PCB on student success and teacher quality in the Florida House. “It is our belief that every child in our state, regardless of race, creed or economic status, deserves to have an exceptional teacher in the classroom that is vested in their futures and will strive to provide students with a quality education. “This proposed committee bill is another step toward meaningful education reform that will serve to further improve our state’s education system by implementing a performance pay plan that is grounded in student learning growth that will result in the ability to reward the most effective teachers. “We encourage public testimony and input from teachers, parents and administrators as this bill moves through the committee process; and we look forward to the final product reaching the House floor.”

There is no legislative analysis yet. Other reviews of the bill have not yet emerged. I looked over the 44 page bill myself and found that to a high degree, it restates the Senate version of education reform in SB736. Some differences jumped out at me if I understand the full intent.
  1. While establishing the parameters for performance pay, the House bill recognized that teachers at lower performing schools cannot compete fairly for increases. This proposed bill would provide a pay supplement to teachers at low performing schools for a year and continue only with improved performance of the school. So I understand that to be that at low performing schools, teacher pay is not tied to student performance in an assigned class, but the school-wide performance.
  2. The bill seems to address merit pay for teachers who teach courses that have no student achievement data on which to base merit pay. Those teachers merit pay would be based on "student growth measures" and remain that way "an equally appropriate" measure is established by the school district. My read is that the districts are not forced to develop an end-of-course test for the P.E. teacher. "Student growth measures" is a new term for me and I will look into it, but I believe it refers to FCAT test results and the algorithm the DOE will develop to analyze results.
My sense was that this bill puts more emphasis on local control than SB736 and with that there are costs. My question remains - how much will this cost at the local level and where will the money come from?

Missed a previous blog on merit pay in Florida? There are all here.

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