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Merit Pay Update

November 3rd, 2011 by flanews

This is the first school year Florida teachers will be evaluated based on their students test scores. By 2013, teachers can be fired for back to back years of poor scores and in 2014, pay can be cut if students dont test well. The merit pay system was adopted to pay the best teachers more, but as Whitney Ray tells us, its unclear if there will be any money for merit raises.

After two years of protests from teachers, Floridas merit pay system is in place. This year half of a teachers performance evaluation will be based on student test scores. By 2013 a teacher can be fired for back to back years of poor evaluations and starting in 2014 half a teachers pay will be based on those test scores.

The new merit pay system was billed as a way to reward teachers with the highest performing students.

High School history teacher Scott Brown believes in merit pay, but doesnt think test scores are the best tool to measure teachers abilities.

Multiple choice tests are not effective, studies show that, said Brown.

Like most teachers in Florida, Brown hasnt received a raise in four years and wonders where the state legislature will find money to pay high performing teachers.

Theyre cutting back government, so I dont know where they are going to find the money, said Brown.

The House Education Committee was briefed on how the merit pay system will work.

None of the currently allocated monies are being used for merit pay, said Rep. Dwight Bullard.

With four straight years of budget deficits and a lagging economy its unclear where lawmakers will find the money for merit pay raise. One possible source is Race to the Top funds but those dollar are issued by the federal government and arent a permanent source of income. The good news is lawmakers have more than two years to find the funds.

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