Florida's educators score big in Governor DeSantis's new plan

Florida’s educators score big in Governor DeSantis’s new plan

Excerpt: Gov.proposed new efforts Thursday to reward top teachers with bonuses and to recruit college students into the teaching profession.

His new bonus proposal would alter the controversial Best and Brightest Teacher Scholarship Program, doing away with the section that rewards teachers partly based on their scores on the ACT or SAT college admissions exams they took while in high school.

Bottom Line: Alright, so what really changes here based on Governor DeSantis’s plan?

  • Bonus pool is increased 80% over the current program
  • Eliminates criteria linked to college entrance exams of teachers
  • Would raise the bonus rate for black teachers from 1% currently to a minimum of 9.8%
  • Top bonus rates would exceed $9,000 per teacher
  • Student loan forgiveness for teachers who teach a minimum of five years in Florida

The Governor's plan would also crack down on charter schools in the state, preventing an operator of a previously shuttered charter school from operating again in Florida. There’s also $10 million that’d be allocated for recruitment efforts. So, what are my thoughts? 

I’d love any education topic to begin with expanded school choice. I’m hoping/counting on the new curriculum/direction that’ll be proposed in a year by the Florida Department of Education including the expansion of vouchers statewide. Should that prove to be the case my thoughts are... 

Florida’s made great progress in education. If teachers deserve greater rewards for the progress, so be it. Bonuses never should have been tied to college testing in the first place so that makes sense. I’m extremely leery of quotas based on demographics rather than outcomes, but it’s an unfortunate fact that majority black schools are often among the lowest performing. That makes it challenging for these teachers to obtain incentives based on performance and difficult to attract and retain good teachers in these schools. If these bonuses are for legitimate performance improvement and not just handouts to hit quotas, I could get on board. The average teacher salary in Florida is just over 48k so a $9k bonus provides the potential for a 19% raise for performance. I can’t imagine any teachers should have an issue with that opportunity. 

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