You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to myPalmBeachPost.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks

X

Welcome to myPalmBeachPost.com

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on myPalmBeachPost.com.

Editorial: Legislature’s approach on teacher raises lacks merit.


Gov. Rick Scott has not been consistent on raises for Florida teachers. He made a $2,500 across-the-board increase one of his two priorities for this legislative session. While that raise would not be tied to a new, mandated evaluation system, he has defended the new evaluations as the proper basis for future raises, even while indicating that the evaluation system will need adjustments to be valid and fair.

The Legislature, on the other hand, is being consistent on teacher raises — consistently wrong.

House and Senate budget negotiators reportedly have agreed to set aside $480 million for school personnel raises. But the raises would not be across-the-board. Instead, legislators would tie it in some fashion to evaluations.

Sen. Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, defended the decision. “This is not new for the districts,” he said. “We’ve been moving toward merit-based pay increases for a while now.”

That’s true. The Legislature tried to mandate a radically new evaluation system in 2010. Then-Gov. Charlie Crist vetoed it. But new Gov. Scott made it a priority for 2011, and the Legislature eagerly complied. The problem is that the state has not been able to invent a fair, valid evaluation system.

Instead, the state has cobbled together a jumble of subjective judgments by school administrators blended with complicated algorithms based on high-stakes tests that in too many cases have no connection to the teacher allegedly being evaluated. As Florida Education Association President Andy Ford noted in blasting the Legislature’s decision on raises,” Two-thirds of Florida teachers are being evaluated on students they do not teach or on subjects they do not teach.”

So, Sen. Galvano is right that the state has been “moving toward” a merit-based system. But it isn’t there yet. Gov. Scott recognized that — and the fact that Florida teachers average $10,000 less than the average teacher salary nationally — when he sought the $2,500 across-the-board raises. Not only should teachers get those raises, implementation of the evaluation system should be postponed until the state comes up with a less absurd system.

Politics might explain some of this mess. Republicans might be challenging Gov. Scott on this issue to get a concession from him on another issue, knowing that he proposed the raises because of his unpopularity among teachers. Or the Legislature could just be acting in a knee-jerk, damagingly ideological way. On education, it’s been moving toward that brand of legislating for years.

Jac Wilder VerSteeg

for The Post Editorial Board


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Opinion

Letters Problem isn’t fraud; it’s voter suppression

Problem isn’t fraud; it’s voter suppression Your editorial, “Fix Florida’s absurdly lax mail-in voting laws” (Wednesday), is missing the point. The problem in our elections is a lack of participation, not fraud. Many eligible voters don’t vote at all or are not even registered. This is especially the case when it...
POINT OF VIEW Price controls won’t work in post-PIP world

However well intentioned, price controls will not work in Florida, if the Legislature moves to finally repeal the No-Fault/Personal Insurance Protection (PIP) auto insurance system this spring. While the concept of No-Fault/PIP may sound reasonable — $10,000 of personal injury protection made available regardless of fault in an accident &mdash...
cartoon
cartoon

CARTOON VIEW DANA SUMMERS
Gerson: How Trump can get his groove back

The central promise of the Trump administration — the repeal and replacement of Obamacare — has failed. The central premise of the Trump administration — that Donald Trump is a brilliant negotiator — has been discredited. In the process of losing a legislative battle, Trump has lost the theory of his presidency. It was a profoundly...
Dowd: Dear DJT: Are we going to lose so much we’ll get tired of losing?

Dear Donald, We’ve known each other a long time, so I think I can be blunt. You know how you said at campaign rallies that you did not like being identified as a politician? Don’t worry. No one will ever mistake you for a politician. After this past week, they won’t even mistake you for a top-notch negotiator. I was born in D.C. And...
More Stories