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Jeb!’s Foundation: Here are the facts on SB 6

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Opponents of reform have launched a misinformation campaign around Senate Bill 6 and its House companion, HB 7189. Here are the facts. Please pass on the information.

Evaluations:

  • Requires at least half of the annual evaluation to be based on individual student progress, also called student learning gains, (essentially how much a student learns during the school year as measured by standardized tests), starting in 2014 – 2015 school year.  Currently, no data on student learning is required as part of a teacher or administrator evaluation.
  • Allows districts to use three consecutive years of data to measure learning gains.
  • Requires classroom teachers to be evaluated based on progress of students in their class.
  • Requires administrators and non-classroom teachers to be evaluated on average student learning gain of students school-wide.
  • Requires two evaluations in the first year for new teachers, teachers from other states, and teachers who have not taught within five years.
  • Requires evaluations to have four levels of performance – highly effective, effective, needs improvement and unsatisfactory– which will be defined by the Department of Education in collaboration with teachers and compensation experts.

Compensation:

  • Requires school districts to adopt a salary schedule based upon the new 4-level evaluation system.
      • Requires higher salaries for teachers and administrators who:
        * are assigned to a low-income or low-performing school (i.e., high need schools)
        * teach in subject that has a shortage of teachers such as math or science (i.e., high need subject areas), or are assigned additional academic responsibility.
  • Allows educational degrees to be considered in setting the salary schedule.
  • Prohibits the use of years of service in setting the salary schedule; however, a district can provide raises based upon the “years of student progress” when determining pay.
  • Establishes a dedicated pool of funding, equal to 5% of the total state, local, and federal public school funding (approximately $900 million) to:
    * Provide salary increases for teachers in high need schools or high need subject areas
    * Provide salary increases for teachers whose students are making progress (teachers who are rated highly effective or effective on the new evaluation system)
    * Develop end-of-course assessments to measure individual student progress,

Contracts:

  • Makes no changes to tenure contracts for current teachers.
  • Ends tenure for teachers hired on or after July 1, 2010. These newly hired teachers will be on an annual contract system:
    * These teachers will start with one probationary contract followed by up to four annual contracts.
    * Allows annual contracts after first five years for teachers who are designated effective or highly effective for two of the last three years.
  • Adds poor performance, as demonstrated by a lack of student learning gains, as a “just cause” grounds for dismissing a teacher during the term of an annual contract.
  • Requires a district school board, when making staff reductions, to base decisions on the employees’ performance as determined on annual evaluations.

Certification and Preparation:

  • Requires out-of-state certified teachers to demonstrate subject area mastery.
  • Requires temporary certificate-holders to demonstrate subject area mastery within one year of employment.
  • Requires teachers to be evaluated as effective or highly effective on four of five annual evaluations to earn recertification.
  • Requires approval of teacher preparation programs to be based upon demonstration that program graduates produce student learning gains.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.

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