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New Analysis Finds Florida’s Scholarship Program Mainly Benefits Teachers in Affluent Areas

New Analysis Finds Florida’s Scholarship Program Mainly Benefits Teachers in Affluent Areas

Further analysis of the teachers awarded bonuses under Florida’s controversial Best and Brightest scholarship program found that the majority of teachers receiving bonuses work in the state’s affluent areas.

According to a report from The Orlando Sentinel, teachers who received bonuses were twice as likely to work with students from affluent families.

"The newspaper's analysis of education data on the statewide program found that for every 954 students in a high poverty Florida school this year there was only one bonus-winning teacher. But the ratio was far less for those schools with students from more affluent homes, one "best and brightest" teacher for every 398 students,” said The Bradenton Herald.

The Best and the Brightest program has been controversial since its implementation. Though it was designed with the intention of attracting the smartest and most effective teachers to the profession, the fact that its partly based on SAT and ACT scores has critics calling it discriminatory against veteran teachers.

Now, critics say the new report indicates it is only further adding to the state’s problem of attracting talented teachers to high-poverty areas to provide equal education for all.

The report also found discrepancies between what the Florida Department of Education considers “high impact” teachers and the teachers awarded bonuses.

"The Florida Department of Education tallied its test-score data to determine which teachers did the best job helping students learn critical math and reading skills. The Sentinel reported that its list of 9,642 "high impact" teachers barely overlaps with the "best and brightest" roster, noting just 393 teachers appeared on both lists,” the Herald said.

The Sentinel says that the program’s creator, Rep. Erik Fresen, R-Miami, attempted to persuade lawmakers to provide an extra $1,000 in bonuses to qualified teachers working in low-income schools but was unable to.

The teachers who qualified for bonuses this year were each awarded $8,256.27.

Read the full story.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

4/18/2016

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