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October 3, 2011 – The Hechinger Report
Florida Districts Prepare for Mandated Merit Pay

The way teachers are paid in Manatee County -- and in all of Florida -- is poised for a big shakeup in the next few years.  By 2014, all districts will have to adopt a scale that determines salary based on teacher performance, as a result of controversial Senate Bill 736.  The law also dictates that 50 percent of a teacher’s evaluation must be tied to student test scores through a complex and controversial formula known as value-added. Using multivariable calculus, value-added predicts what a student’s score on a standardized test would be, and then holds the teacher accountable for at least reaching that mark.  Most of the research on performance pay has found no significant impact on student performance. Still, a national merit pay movement, spurred by competition for grants like President Barack Obama’s $4.3 billion Race to the Top, is gaining momentum.

September 27, 2011 – Yahoo News
NEA President Challenges Merit Pay

About merit pay schemes, NEA President Dennis Van Roekel says, “They're a little naive and short-sighted. Vanderbilt University did a study over three years. And what it says is when you offer bonuses of up to $8,000, it doesn't change student achievement. Daniel Pink's work says if you're doing a repetitive task, an incentive actually enhances performance. But as soon as you move into complex tasks, not only does it not enhance performance; it actually hinders it. So, with that as a background, what do we do about pay? There isn't enough money there. The pie that's available to distribute to teachers, it's going to have to be bigger.”

September 23, 2011 – Huffington Post
Some States, Districts Abandoning Merit Pay

A dicey fiscal climate and research that has shown limited impact have led some states and districts to scale back, abandon, or change their fledgling merit-pay programs, causing observers to wonder what the next few years will hold for compensation systems that link teacher pay to student achievement.

September 23, 2011 – Associated Press
Florida Teachers Union Files Suit Over Merit Pay Plan

Florida's teacher union is suing the state over a new law that requires merit pay and ends tenure for new hires, one of a number passed nationwide changing how teachers are evaluated.  The Florida Education Association contends that SB 736, which was signed in to law by Gov. Rick Scott in March, is unconstitutional because it substantially changes how teachers are paid and evaluated while denying instructors their right to collective bargaining.  "The provisions of SB 736 radically transform the teaching profession — and not for the better," said Cory Williams, a middle school teacher included in the lawsuit. "The expertise and knowledge of teachers have been ignored throughout this process and our constitutional rights have been trampled."

September 6, 2011 – Globe Gazette
Iowa Proposes Four Tiered Compensation Model 

Iowa public school teachers would move to four-tiered compensation based on how they perform in the classroom as part of the state’s education reform package expected to be released this fall.  Key among the ideas is doing away with the current system that pays teachers more based on how long they’ve been in the profession and what degrees they’ve obtained  in favor of a system of apprentice, career, mentor and master teachers.  Under the proposal, teachers would start as apprentice teachers at $40,000 a year — compared with a minimum of $28,000 per year now— and serve as apprentices until they can prove themselves as a career teacher. Then they would get a boost to about $50,000 a year. Career teachers could then become mentor teachers or master teachers if they take on extra responsibility, but master and mentor designations would be limited to about one-quarter of a district’s teachers.

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