3/24/2011 Jacksonville, Fla. – Today, Governor Rick Scott signed Senate Bill 736, the Student Success Act, into law at the charter school, KIPP Impact Middle School in Jacksonville. The historic bill puts in place part of the Governor’s 7-7-7 Plan by requiring merit pay for Florida’s public educators based on student achievement.
“I am proud that the first bill I sign is this important legislation that will give Florida the best educated workforce to compete in the 21st century economy,” Governor Scott said. “We must recruit and retain the best people to make sure every classroom in Florida has a highly effective teacher.”
Sponsored by Senator Stephen Wise and Representative Erik Fresen, the legislation changes how teacher performance is evaluated, including the following:
• Teachers will be evaluated using a scale of four levels for performance (highly effective, effective, needs improvement and unsatisfactory), instead of being evaluated as either satisfactory or unsatisfactory. In 2009, 99.7 percent of teachers earned a satisfactory evaluation.
• At least half of an educator’s evaluation will be based on student learning gains for classroom teachers, 30 percent for non-classroom personnel and 40 percent for school administrators, instead of 100 percent of the evaluation being based on principal or peer review.
• Teachers in hard-to-staff subject areas, like math and science, will earn more money, instead of paying all teachers – regardless of subject taught – using the same scale.
• After July 1 of this year, new teachers will work on annual contracts, instead of receiving tenure after three years of satisfactory evaluations, which is essentially an employment contract for life.
What People Are Saying About the Student Success Act:
“This landmark bill recognizes that teachers are the most important factor in schools when determining a child’s success,” said StudentsFirst Founder and CEO Michelle Rhee. “We applaud Florida for its adoption of bold and comprehensive education measures that put students first.”
“The action taken today recognizes that quality teachers are the fundamental component of a first-rate education,” said CFO Jeff Atwater. “Exceptional teachers will now be distinguished, celebrated and rewarded for their dedication and skill to impart knowledge that inspires our students.”
“The passage of Senate Bill 736, ‘The Student Success Act,’ would not have been a success without the months of collaborative committee work and public input from teachers, administrators and parents,” Senator Stephen Wise said. “I’m thankful for the cooperation from the many groups and individuals who contributed to the discussion on instructional quality, along with the dedicated committee members. Our teachers are incredibly influential and important to the success of our children and our future as a State. I believe this bill will attract top-quality educators to Florida and foster a student-centered, world-class education system.”
“This is a momentous occasion for our state’s education system,” Representative Erik Fresen said. “Excellent teachers are the driving force behind student success and this bill provides for a system that recognizes those highly effective educators and rewards them appropriately.”
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