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Teacher Quality Bill Filed In Senate

By Lynn Hatter

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/wfsu/local-wfsu-888987.mp3

Tallahassee, FL – A bill that would revamp the way teachers are hired, fired and evaluated has been filed in the Senate. Education officials on both sides of the issue have been anticipating the measure.

The bill is being brought by Senator John Thrasher, a Republican from Jacksonville. The main opposition is the teachers union, the Florida Education Association. It says the move is nothing but a way to save money by making it easier to fire experienced teachers and replace them with newer ones who can be employed for less. The School Boards Association says that's not the case. Dr. Wayne Blanton is the Executive Director.

"I think what you're seeing is, there's been a movement over the years, more and more movement to tying teacher evaluations to student achievement, and I think you're beginning to see a move towards that in the Florida Legislature. But it's also being driven by Race to the Top money."

Florida has applied for a billion-dollar grant from the federal Race to the Top program and is one of sixteen finalists. A large part of getting that money is tying teacher evaluations to student performance.