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Controversy in Florida: Deadline Approaches for Educator Bonuses Based on SAT, ACT Scores

Controversy in Florida: Deadline Approaches for Educator Bonuses Based on SAT and ACT Scores

A Florida lawmaker's attempt to attract more high-achieving candidates into the teaching field with a $10,000 bonus based on qualifying SAT and ACT scores is continuing to draw criticism from veteran educators who feel as if the incentive just isn't fair.

"Teachers are eligible for the bonuses if they scored in the top 20 percent on their college-entrance exams in the year they took them. For teachers who took the exams in 2005, for example, that means a score of at least 25 out of 36 on the ACT or at least 610 verbal and 630 math out of 800 on the SAT," said The Orlando Sentinel.

While teachers entering the field need only have qualifying test scores to apply, experienced educators also have to be rated highly-effective in addition to the scores.

Though Rep. Erik Fresen, R-Miami said he proposed the program "because of an ongoing teacher shortage and because those entering the teaching profession 'are rarely among the highest academic achievers in their classes,'" experienced educators feel as if they should have the ability to earn bonuses without needing test scores from, in some cases, thirty years prior.

In Florida, where the average teacher earns less than $50,000, a $10,000 means a lot.

"J.P. Royer, who teaches language arts and social studies to fifth-graders, said he felt insulted when he realized a lower-than-needed math SAT score made him ineligible," the article said.

Royer represents one of the many Floridian educators who desire such a hefty bonus but are ineligible despite being highly-effective teachers.

Some teachers are so concerned with getting the bonus that they've even considered retaking the college entrance exams this year- only to have issues managing time as well as meeting the Oct. 1 deadline of score submission.

Veteran teachers aren't the only ones who denounce the practice. Said Kate Walsh, president of the National Council on Teacher Quality to the Sentinel: "'I can't fathom what the purpose of this is,'... except 'as a ploy to drive teachers nuts.'"

Read the full story here.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor


Would you participate in a rewards program based on your SAT or ACT scores?

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