On Monday, 12/21/16, the Florida Education Association (FEA) filed formal complaints criticizing Florida’s Best and Brightest teacher scholarship program (read about it here or here ; learn more about the bonus program in our last blog “Worst and Dumbest, the Sequel“). As we have already noted, we applaud all efforts to challenge “the worst bill of the year.” We will continue to encourage the Florida Education Association teacher’s union to pursue further legal action.
The FEA’s claims are outlined here, claiming, among other things “Because no percentile data is available from ACT or SAT for teachers who took these tests before 1972, such teachers are disqualified from receiving the bonus.” Today we discovered that, for Florida natives, it isn’t just a matter of no percentile data but, possibly, of no data at all…
We discovered this: Did you know that prior to 1973, Florida universities used Florida’s 12th grade test for college admission? The SAT was not used, or needed, for admission to Florida Universities until 1973.
It appears, despite Mr. Fresen’s claims, sitting for the SAT may not be as universal as he believed; certainly a bonus should not be based on an exam that was not required or even accepted at our state institutions when our most experienced teachers matriculated. Why should experienced teachers be required to sit for an exam that our own state did not require when they were in high school?
Those 1972 Florida high school graduates would be about 60 years old now… We wonder how many went into teaching and are still teaching today? Those teachers should be challenging this law. A clearer case of age discrimination could not be imagined. We encourage the FEA to actively seek out such teachers.
Could it get any dumber? Only if our legislature makes this program permanent (as proposed in this sessions HB 7043 and SB 978). We strongly encourage “no” votes on these bills.
We agree with the 12/18/15 Tampa Bay Times Editorial:
“Attracting and retaining the most qualified and effective teachers is a tremendous challenge as professions with higher pay and often better working conditions beckon top students. Providing incentives to remain in the classroom is a worthy idea, but the Legislature has fumbled this effort from the start. Lawmakers shouldn’t have shoehorned the money for this program into the state’s budget without adequately vetting the idea. Had they allowed for discussion of the proposal, they might have reached the logical conclusion that using old high school-era test scores is no way to measure current ability.”
Spending $44 million on this program this year was a mistake… making the “the Worst and Dumbest Idea Ever” permanent would be complete and utter accountabaloney.