Governor Rick Scott of Florida (photo) signed SB 736 into law in March. The new law requires merit pay for teachers and it ends tenure for newly hired school teachers. The Florida Education Association has sued Florida alleging that the new law denies teachers their right to collective bargaining and is unconstitutional.
Cory Williams, one of the teachers who are included in the lawsuit, said: “The provisions of SB 736 radically transform the teaching profession — and not for the better. The expertise and knowledge of teachers have been ignored throughout this process and our constitutional rights have been trampled.”
Although other states have passed laws that weakened tenure and adopted new methods of evaluating teachers, no other state has made teacher merit for pay raises contingent upon how well students do on tests. Michelle Exstrom of the National Conference of State Legislatures observed: “Florida has always been ahead of the curve when it comes to the merit pay issue. They’ve just struggled to do it in a way that’s most effective for students and their teachers. You know what, it’s not clear cut how to make this work.”
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