D Stands for Docked Pay for Teachers - NBC 6 South Florida

D Stands for Docked Pay for Teachers

Legislature poised to make profound changes in Florida education



    Say "I Do" to Grenada

    Get ready for the graduation rate in Florida to reach 100 percent.

    Teachers statewide are protesting a measure progressing through the Legislature that would tie their pay to the grades and test scores their students receive.

    The changes, if passed, would also do away with the FCAT test, move more money to private schools to pay for low income students, and change the Constitution to allow for bigger class sizes.

    The national health care bill has been getting all the attention. But all of Florida's classrooms are about to get some drastic changes, if several of these education bills pass the legislature as early as Wednesday.

    The education bills are proposing immense changes in the way students are taught, tested and how teachers are paid.

    “Let's vote no to SB 6! Let's vote no to SB 6!" yelled a group of teachers outside of  Coral Park High School on Tuesday.

    Senate Bill 6 which would tie half of teachers' salaries to test scores.

    "Our profession is a proud one. And it deserves more than what we already make," said teacher Marilyn F. Bellamy.

    Senate Bill 6 is the most contentious of the major school bills now being debated in the state legislature, in part, because it also penalizes those school districts that don't go along.

    Jacksonville Republican Sen. John Thrasher, who is pushing changes in the way teachers earn raises, says his bill will encourage good teachers to work at bad schools.

    "It also provides a differential pay for high need teachers in high need areas when they take such an assignment for additional academic responsibilities,” Thrasher said. “And it encourages teachers to teach in our most challenging schools."

    The legislature is also debating whether to expand use of vouchers for low income students to get into private schools. It's goal is to further encourage competition between public and private schools, and spur innovation.

    Another proposal would change the state Constitution loosening class sizes.

    Budget cuts to arts programs are in the cross hairs again in Tallahassee, as lawmakers look for ways to further cut the budget. But a chorus of arts teachers and their supporters say good schools can never be void of arts education.

    All three major bills are opposed by Florida’s statewide teachers union.

    Teachers and other educators are jumping on school buses tonight to head to Tallahassee overnight to lobby lawmakers before they vote in the morning.