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Florida’s Senate Debates ‘Best and Brightest’ Bonus Program

Florida’s Senate Will Debate ‘Best and Brightest’ Bonus Program Today

It's an important time for education in Florida.

The state’s large Appropriations Committee will look at two education bills, one of which includes the controversial "Best and Brightest” teacher bonus plan.

Sen. Don Gaetz "filed the 59-page, strike-all amendment for SB 524 on Wednesday, which includes such controversial issues as the 'Best and Brightest' teacher bonus plan and proposed reforms for capital funding to charter schools and school districts,” said the Miami Herald.

The Best and Brightest program is controversial because it provides thousands of dollars in bonuses to educators based, in part, on college entrance exam scores. For veteran teachers who took the exams decades ago if at all, the program is considered to be discriminatory.

Supports, on the other hand, says it attracts top college students to be teachers in the state and should be viewed as a powerful recruitment tool.

Last week, the House voted to extend the program and has made it one of its priorities.

The Senate has been more cautionary in passing the program and want to consider alternatives before doing so.

"For instance, Miami Republican Anitere Flores wants to allow teachers to have the option to qualify for the 'Best and Brightest' bonuses using a “nationally accredited, advanced credential” in lieu of their high school SAT/ACT scores — an alternative for which she previously advocated,” the Miami Herald said.

"House and Senate leaders seem to support an up-or-down floor vote in the Senate on “Best and Brightest,” but they’re not ruling out enacting it through language in the final budget — which was how the program was enacted this year.”

Read the full story.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

2/25/2016

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