Florida lawmakers poised to kill teacher tenure.

It seems as if Florida may be on the right track with this one. While I don't necessarily agree with basing teacher pay on test scores I do believe it should be merit based. Doing away with tenure may be the biggest step towards reforming education that has occurred in the last fifty years.

No longer will teachers get a free ride once they are tenured. There will be an impetus to improve as an educator or risk losing your job.

Of course the plan has drawn fire from opponents and was passed in the house pretty much down party lines. It goes to the Florida Senate now for a vote where it will no doubt encounter further resistance.

I would just like to quote the left here and say "Something is better than nothing". I sure love using peoples own words against them. If the argument is good enough to pass health care reform than I guess it is good enough to pass education reform.

Below is an article regarding the bill. See if you can guess the political persuasion of the author. The original article can be found HERE:

Florida Senate Passes Controversial Teacher Tenure Bill

By Scott Finn (Send E-Mail)
TAMPA (3-24-2010) -

On a 21-17 vote, the Florida Senate voted for a bill (SJR 6) that would largely eliminate teacher tenure, as well as base much of a teacher’s pay on student performance.

But several Tampa-area Republicans crossed party lines to vote against the bill, along with all the Democrats who voted.

If the bill passes the House and is signed into law, teachers could lose their certification if students don’t show significant learning gains for four out of five years.

They would no longer receive multi-year contracts. And, teacher salaries would no longer be based on their years of experience.

Instead, half of their evaluation would be based on how much their students improve on standardized test scores. Those evaluations would affect future raises.

The bill passed on a largely party-line vote -- all the Democrats who were there opposed it, as did four Republicans -- Senators Charlie Dean of Inverness, Paula Dockery of Lakeland, Dennis Jones of Seminole and Alex Villalobos of Miami.

Senator Ted Deutch said the bill is impractical and an insult to teachers.

"Let’s be clear about one thing. Testing is not teaching," Deutch said.

"And when we base this legislation on a whole series of new tests, we are taking a step that won’t just demonize all teachers, but it fails to respect the job that the overwhelming majority of teachers in this state do."

It’s a sentiment echoed by the Florida Education Association.

But the bill’s sponsor, Senator John Thrasher, said he took exception to that. His own daughter is a former teacher.

"She’s told me that she’s not fearful of this bill. Because she thinks that when this bill passes, it’s gonna inspire teachers to get into the classroom and do an even better job that what they’re doing now," Thrasher said.

Teachers in Hillsborough County will be exempt from the bill. That’s because Thrasher did not want to interfere with a $100 million grant the county received from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

The Gates plan would already make almost half of teacher pay in Hillsborough County based on teacher performance.

The bill now goes to the House, whose leaders have expressed some support for the ideas behind the bill, as has Gov. Charlie Crist.


  1. The problem with this bill and the reason that some people agree with it is they see running a classroom the same as running a business for profit. Why not make 50% of someone's salary based on how student's test? First, students are not "products", they are developing human beings. Teachers need to be able to see and manage them that way. What fields other than sales are salaries based on this high of a "commission". Second, everyone's justification for this bill is the small volume of teachers that administrators and districts feels need to fired and are too hard to do it. I have seen many teachers not asked to come back. It's ridiculous to design a bill around a small problem and penalize the majority. Third, some of the very best teachers teach students that are the hardest to improve results for - I would be worried if I were a parent of any special needs, either emotional, physical, or social, - what great teacher would still want to teach in those fields? Lastly, teaching would eliminate the one thing that high level thinkers need to develop in people in our country - creativity - we lag behind so many other countries now. In many schools, parental involvement is poor and student disruptions are ongoing. Before anyone signs a bill like this, they should teach for a while. I can speak from experience having 25 years in management, even at senior levels, and went into teaching. I see what many of you don't and I didn't when my children were in school. Be careful what you put into law in this bill.

  2. I like the idea of merit-based pay, but judging a teachers by their students' test scores is only going to make bad teachers worse. Bad teachers will just start "teaching the test" as we put it, which is not as good as teaching actual academic material. I tutor standardized tests for a living (ACT, SAT, GMAT, GRE, LSAT) and a lot of what I do is teach people strategies for multiple choice tests. Teaching someone how to do a GRE math problem more efficiently is just not the same as teaching someone real math. A more Big Brotherish, but probably more accurate way to judge teachers is simply to observe them.

  3. You should be ashamed of yourself. In a time when school districts barely have the money to buy toilet paper for their schools, you want them to fund this monstrosity. The FLDOE is already cutting back parts of the FCAT because of $$, so where do you think the money for all of Jeb's new tests going to come from? YOU THE TAXPAYER.

    Shame on all of you for your meanness. Tenured teachers can be fired, it just takes work. But it ALWAYS makes a good sound bite. Not everyone sleeps with their students.


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