Teacher Merit Pay: SB6 is Back

By: Mike Vasilinda Email
By: Mike Vasilinda Email

Tallahassee, FL - Last year, SB 6, the teacher tenure bill, generated hundreds of protesters and more mail than any other issue at the Capitol. That led Charlie Crist to say no.

One of last year’s opponents is this year’s Florida Teacher of the Year, Megan Allen from Hillsborough County. She says she’s willing to accept merit pay and other reforms, within reason.

“I would really love the conversations that we have with policymakers, with the media, to involve what those effective teachers are doing right, instead of what those ineffective teachers are doing wrong, because there are so few of them,” Allen said.

And measuring success is more than test scores says Escambia teacher Kathy Bain.

“It’s really difficult to measure good teaching,” Bain said.

Peggy Brookind told lawmakers that she has seen Merit pay backfire because of the competition it creates.

“If you wanted to pay me for what I do, I think we’d all get a raise,” Brookind said.

What is different this year, says Teacher Union President Andy Ford, is that teachers are being heard.

“Most of what we were fighting against last year was just being absolutely shut out of the process, with no opportunity for input,” Ford said. “This is a totally different situation this year.”

Being heard is one thing, getting everything they want is another, says the committee Chairman.

“We’re not going to agree on everything, I can assure you of that,” Sen. Stephen Wise (R-Jacksonville) said.

But even being heard is a giant step forward from how the GOP-controlled legislature handled the issue last year.

Unlike Charlie Crist last year, Governor Rick Scott isn’t likely to veto any merit pay legislation that lands on his desk.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by think about it Location: florida on Feb 1, 2011 at 04:52 PM
    there are a lot of parents out there who don't want to do homework or projects with their kids and make unfair demands on teachers. so now if teachers don't kiss parents' butts, they will get unsatisfactory evaluations? i am here for the kids, not to cater to their lazy and/or demanding parents.
  • by teacher on Jan 30, 2011 at 02:07 PM
    I am a teacher and I will admit there are some teachers that are not effective but, most are great. The real problem is a lack of parenting and structure at home, the breakdown of the traditional family has greatly influenced the issues teachers and schools face today. Teachers teach, parents inspire; you made them you should raise them. Now hate me for telling the truth!
  • by Merit Pay will never happen Location: Floriduh on Jan 29, 2011 at 02:13 PM
    I am so tired of hearing the term “merit pay”; there is no money to fund “merit pay” and there never will be. Politicians are never going to allocate funding to pay teachers more, what they want to do is eliminate tenure so that teachers can be hired and fired at will. The “merit pay” will become; your students did well this year, so you can keep your job another year, but teachers will never see any increase in pay.
  • by Anonymous on Jan 29, 2011 at 09:06 AM
    Buddy, I don't think this is all the teachers fault. I think the importance put on the FCAT at the State level has trickled down so that everything the teacher does now is affected by the FCAT. Remove FCAT and this will change.
  • by Anonymous on Jan 29, 2011 at 09:04 AM
    Cheryl. One of the jobs a teacher has is to inspire our kids to set high goals and do all they can (homework and class work) to reach them. If you have kids that are not performing well, it may not be that you are not teaching (I think all teachers can teach), but that you are not inspiring or motivating them to learn. If you ask people who their best teacher was in school, it is almost always the one teacher that was able to get them motivated and inspire them to reach for things they would not have done otherwise. This one thing alone can make the difference between a good teacher, and a great teacher.
  • by Cheryl Location: Florida on Jan 29, 2011 at 07:14 AM
    hjhj...I agree 100%. Teachers should not be penalized for students not applying themselves in the classroom and at home (homework). A teacher can only do so much.
  • by Buddy Location: ne on Jan 29, 2011 at 06:20 AM
    It is time to move past the parent/teacher blame game. I have always supported teachers until now. They are punishing families over the FCAT by killing kids with homework that is nothing more than busy work. This is a fairly recent development, and it is forcing parents to pull kids from school. Teachers, we know you are unhappy, but lashing out at the only ones you can is not smart.
  • by dog Location: gone on Jan 29, 2011 at 05:59 AM
    Merit pay is like socialism it only works if everyone works. NO MERIT PAY .
  • by anon Location: here on Jan 29, 2011 at 04:42 AM
    It was said that after Crist vetoed this last year that Thrasher & friends would bring this back AGAIN this year, and here we are folks. There have got to be many other things the Legislature should spend time on and pass laws to improve the state`s economy instead of wasting taxpayer dollars on this obsession to kill or control the teachers union. And hjhj does bring up several VALID points that are not fully being addressed.
  • by hjhj Location: ga on Jan 28, 2011 at 08:18 PM
    Firest, all schools should publlish on their web site how many students are taking AP and how many are passing them. Passing them is key. Second, lots of teachers give homework, lots of students don't do it and lots of parents don't put students in a position to be successful. From no requirement for them to do H/W to poor sleep and eating habits to......stop blaming the teachers for bad parents.
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