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Thursday, March 23, 2006

Florida offers bonuses for better test scores

WMAL AM 630 Washington, DC reported this morning that FL will be the first state to allow its teachers to receive bonus pay for the performance of its student’s on state tests like the FCAT.

It’s about time a state like FL is taking this kind of step. But there was a piece in the St.Pete Pravda crying foul over the idea of merit pay. Some of the more amusing criticisms in the piece were as follows:

"We've worked hard to foster a feeling of trust among faculty and staff," said Carol Dinsdale, a teacher at Mount Vernon Elementary in St. Petersburg. "This concept of pay based on individual teachers' FCAT scores could pit educator against educator."

Wayne Blanton, executive director of the Florida School Boards Association, said his main concern is too few teachers would qualify for the bonus…

"Teachers are already working above and beyond their current salaries to ensure that all students succeed," said Lee, who teaches at Mount Vernon Elementary. "Suggesting that we would work harder if there were an additional pay-for-performance plan linked to student achievement implies we are currently undedicated professionals."

Jennifer Cancello, a language arts teacher at Seven Springs Middle School in Pasco County, echoed the sentiment. "Keep your bonus money," Cancello wrote in a letter to the St. Petersburg Times. "I work for my students, not the government."

Well, sweetheart, if you’re working for the students, then why is this an issue? If you are working for the students and we can assume that the scores of your students increase due to your dedication, then what’s wrong with a few extra dollars in your pay packet?

Incentive based pay is exactly what is needed to reform education in FL and weed out those who are not able to raise the scores of students

Sometimes the government does something right. Read.

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Teachers deserve bonsuses, in fact, they just deserve higher pay period. However, if anyone thinks this is actually going to produce smarter kids in the long run, then they're in for a sad surprise. It's just like the "no child left behind" debacle. For example, I know a teacher in my area who says the school administration forcefully "encourages" her to fix her students' poorly scored tests by changing some answers so the school will receive more money for higher test scores. Perhaps giving bonuses for not just state test scores, but overall student GPAs is the way to go because this way guarantees nothing for our childrens' education.
I agree...up the pay of them all. And while we are at it, how about tests for teachers? How about certification and re-certification competency tests?

I know there are many disciplines that require certification and re-certification. But there are many teaching positions that do not require this at all.

Thanks for the comment. Glad to see you back at my site.
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