WTVY  | Dothan, AL  | Politics, News

Florida Lawmakers Want to Tie Teacher Pay to Student Performance

State lawmakers are one step closer to over-hauling the way Florida teachers are paid.

Wednesday, a powerful Senate committee passed a bill that critics call the second coming of SB-6, a controversial piece of legislation vetoed by the governor last spring.

With more than a dozen teachers still in line to speak, the Senate Budget Committee abruptly cut off debate and passed a bill opponents call 'fundamentally flawed'.

Like last year's SB-6, it would tie teacher pay to student test performance, but in a critical difference, special ed instructors whose students may not perform all that well on exams would be evaluated based on different criteria, including peer reviews.

The state teacher union calls it a step in the right direction, but they still take issue with the bill's impact on tenure.

Teachers would have to be put on year-to-year contracts, and if they underperform, they could be fired.

Many of the teachers on hand at the meeting call that unreasonable, and they're fuming they never had a chance to speak.

“I am just so frustrated with this political process,” said Linda Service. “I took a personal leave day today to come and see the political process in action, and they did not allow for one person who wanted to speak against this bill to speak. They railroaded it, they engineered it.”

Democrats on the committee attempted to amend the bill to allow for three-year contracts, but that motion was rejected by the republican majority.

From here the bill goes to the senate floor where republican leaders have pledged to take it up shortly after the legislative session begins next month. Unlike former Governor Charlie Crist, Rick Scott says he supports the drive to make teachers more accountable.


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