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Florida House Members Move Bill To Expand Teacher Scholarships To Principals

Rep. Manny Diaz (R-Hialeah)
Florida Channel

Legislation extending the Best and Brightest scholarship program for teachers and principals is on the move in the Florida House. The measure allows more educators to qualify as highly effective.

The legislation by Rep. Manny Diaz expands the number of qualifying tests and lowers the thresholds. It also rewards principals who attract good teachers to their schools.

“The number one factor in getting teachers to those schools is the quality of the leadership," he said. "And so what this does is that it recognizes those principals who are able to attract the best and brightest teachers to their school.”

Diaz said a "Best and Brightest" principal would have more independence.

“Because they were able to attract all these great teachers to their school, they’re going to be given greater autonomy when it comes to budgetary decisions and decisions with staffing at their school,” he said.

Principals would have to serve for at two least years to be eligible. The schools must have a high ratio of highly effective teachers. But Rep. Larry Lee says he questions if it’s too soon to expand the program to principals.

Sarah Mueller is a journalist who has worked for media outlets in several states since 2010. She earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism in 2010 and worked as a print reporter covering local government and politics.