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House Committee Takes Small Steps Toward Higher Ed Performance Pay Makeover

A 51-page proposal before The House Education and Workforce Committee is aimed at keeping science and technology-inclined students in the state and calls on schools to do more with tracking how well students perform in the job market post-graduation. The proposal outlines performance-based bonuses for adult education programs, public K-12 schools and colleges and universities.

 “This section expresses the legislature’s intent that state performance funds be based on indicators of system and institutional attainment of performance expectations," said Committee Chairwoman Jeanette Nunez.

School districts and the Florida College System would get a thousand dollars for each industry certification a student earns. Universities would get performance-based bonuses based on how well they do in meeting state expectations on things like post-graduation job success. Awards would be capped at $15 million per group.  But House Minority Leader Perry Thurston had questions:

“Essentially we’re going to be grading the performance of the universities based on their ability to get their graduates jobs in certain fields, is that what we’re saying?”

Republican Representative Erik Fresen of Miami says the measure is still a rough draft, but the performance-funding system isn’t meant to penalize schools whose students get a degree and work in a field they didn’t major in.

“The performance funding won’t be so myopically and linearly connected employment in the sector you studied in, but more so completion, time of completion and in general beyond completion so that whether you were able to monetize your degree directly in your field, at least it had some value in the workforce," Fresen replied.

The Board of Governors, which oversees all the state’s public universities, has been experimenting with a smaller performance-based funding model only in IT programs. The proposal would allow that program to continue. The university system is asking for more than $118 million dollars in exchange for a more comprehensive performance-funding system.

For more news updates, follow Lynn Hatter on Twitter @HatterLynn

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Lynn Hatter is a Florida A&M University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Lynn has served as reporter/producer for WFSU since 2007 with education and health care issues as her key coverage areas.  She is an award-winning member of the Capital Press Corps and has participated in the NPR Kaiser Health News Reporting Partnership and NPR Education Initiative. 

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