Jeb Bush joins Florida Business Leaders to Applaud Florida Senate for Passage of Landmark Reform
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
“Today was a terrific day for Sunshine State students. The bold reform passed by the Florida Senate today will improve the quality of education in Florida by rewarding teachers for their hard work and commitment to student success,” said Jeb Bush, former Governor of Florida and Chairman of the Foundation for Florida’s Future. “I join Floridians from across our state in applauding Senate President Jeff Atwater and Senator John Thrasher for their vision and leadership in making education in Florida a model for the nation."
SB 6 creates a dedicated pool of funding, starting at $900 million, to reward teachers in high-poverty schools, teachers of high-demand subjects such as math and science, and teachers whose students show annual academic progress. Rewarding teachings with high salaries will create the environment for a dynamic and highly-skilled teaching workforce, which is vital to the future of our students and our economy.
“Paying more to retain and recruit highly-skilled mathematicians and scientists as classroom teachers will ensure more students are better prepared to succeed in the 21st century global economy,” said Bush. “Paying more to teachers who work in high-poverty schools will attract the best and brightest to the greatest moral and economic imperative to our era – closing the achievement gap, once and for all.”
“Research shows that the most effective teachers produce student gains nearly four times greater than the least effective teachers,” said Susan Pareigis, President of the Florida Council of 100 and member of the Board of Directors for the Foundation for Florida’s Future. “Thus, it is vital for Florida to do all it can to prepare, develop, and reward high-quality teachers, especially those who prime our students to succeed in the global innovation economy.”
“Evaluating and paying teachers based on what matters – student learning – places the focus on students, not the adults in the system,” said Mark Wilson, President and CEO of the Florida Chamber of Commerce. “This requirement rewards teachers who are preparing students to succeed in the next grade – and ultimately, life after school.”
The bill ends a lifetime guarantee of employment, known commonly as tenure, for newly hired teachers. The bill requires student performance, for the first time, to be part of a teacher’s annual evaluation. Under the bill, half of the teacher’s annual evaluation will be based on whether their students learned a year’s worth of knowledge in a year’s time. Currently, evaluations are 100% subjective, often based primarily on the observations and opinions of principals. Adding data as a measure of teacher effectiveness makes the evaluation process more objective.
“Thanks to the bold reforms undertaken by Florida’s Legislature this year, Florida will build on the progress of the last decade. However, our work is far from finished,” said Patricia Levesque, Executive Director of the Foundation for Florida’s Future. “We look forward to the Florida House hearing the companion bills to this important initiative.”
For more information on the Foundation for Florida’s Future’s commitment to improving the quality of education for Sunshine State students, please visit www.afloridapromise.org.