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press release

Florida moves towards merit pay in spite of union opposition, EducationCrossing finds 10,000 teaching jobs.

March 17, 2011   |  PDF version  PDF version

Pasadena, CA — Florida has moved closer to implementing the concept of merit pay in its public schools with the passage of SB736 on Wednesday.

The bill was passed 80-39 in the Florida House and was voted along on largely party lines, with Republicans hailing it as a move that would help students and reward good teachers. The bill did not specify exactly what criteria are going to be used for determining teacher performance by local school boards.

The bill would allow current teachers to retain their pay based on the old seniority model. But new teachers would have less job security. The reason is that their contract with the school district would be renewed every year based on their performance.

The move towards merit pay has pitted Republicans, led by Governor Rick Scott and the Republican-led Legislature against Florida's largest teachers union. The Florida Education Association says that it reduces the school district's flexibility and authority over teacher evaluations as well as pay schedules and working conditions. Its president Andy Ford has said that the bill is neither good for teachers or for students.

EducationCrossing CEO A. Harrison Barnes thinks teaching jobs in public schools are not the safe lifetime jobs they once were. ''But private schools are always hiring. And public schools cannot eliminate teaching positions such as ESL teachers and special education teachers where they are required.'' EducationCrossing is a job aggregator site and has been able to find 10,000 teaching jobs.

Roger Croft
Editorial Coordinator

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