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NCLB Outrages

STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION APPROVES FIRST MERIT PAY PLAN


Comments from Annie: Here is a concept you might want to read about on an empty stomach: “The main measuring stick in Hillsborough's plan is how much a teacher's students improve their scores on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test, or FCAT. Other tests will be used for subjects not covered by the FCAT. Counselors, media specialists and other staffers with school wide responsibilities will be judged on their school's overall FCAT data.”


STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION APPROVES FIRST MERIT PAY PLAN
The Associated Press

The Florida State Board of Education on Tuesday approved the first
performance-pay plan linked to a pool of $147.5 million of state money
that lawmakers set aside to reward outstanding teachers.

The board approved the plan submitted by Hillsborough County. Other
counties must submit proposals by Dec. 31 to get access to the money,
which was appropriated this year by the Florida Legislature. The state
board is expecting applications from at least 75 other districts across
the state to share the money.

Under the Special Teachers Are Rewarded, or STAR, program, a school
district must develop a performance-pay plan that includes an evaluation
component focused on the improvement of student learning.

The main measuring stick in Hillsborough's plan is how much a teacher's
students improve their scores on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment
Test, or FCAT. Other tests will be used for subjects not covered by the
FCAT. Counselors, media specialists and other staffers with school wide
responsibilities will be judged on their school's overall FCAT data.

"The STAR appropriation enables school districts to reward high
performance above and beyond the current salary structure," state
Education Commissioner John L. Winn said. "If we can move past the
one-size-fits-all teacher salary schedule to a more dynamic system of
compensation, our students and teachers will be the beneficiaries."

The school board is asking the legislature for $162 million in next
year's budget to continue the pay plan.

The Florida Education Association, a statewide teachers union, has
challenged the state's guidelines for developing the STAR plans,
alleging they were written without going through required rule-making
procedures. That appeal is pending before the state Division of
Administrative Hearings.

"I will be the first to say that STAR has its detractors," Yvonne Lyons,
executive director and chief negotiator for the Hillsborough County
Teachers Association, told the board.

The union maintains that performance pay is premature until the state
raises base salaries to at least the national average, said FEA
spokesman Mark Pudlow. He said the Hillsborough STAR plan is based on an
existing local merit pay scheme previously negotiated with the union there.

The Legislature this year passed STAR to replace a similar program
called Effectiveness Compensation, or E-Comp, that the state Board of
Education approved but never had a chance to put into operation.

E-Comp drew opposition from school boards, teachers and many lawmakers.
It would have provided 5 percent bonuses - an average of about $2,000 -
to the top 10 percent of teachers across the state based mainly on how
well their students had scored on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test.

The Associated Press
2006-10-17


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