Florida's Educators Score Big With DeSantis's New Plan

On Thursday, Governor DeSantis proposed a new effort that rewards teachers with bonuses with intentions that will recruit college students into teaching as well. This proposal will alter the debatable  Best and Brightest Teacher Scholarship Program. It'll basically remove the part that rewards teachers based on their ACT and SAT college admissions exams they took while in high school.

So what really changes here based on Governor DeSantis’s plan? Over the current program, the b onus pool increases by 80%. It eliminates criteria linked to college entrance exams of teachers and it'll raise the bonus rate for African American teachers from 1% currently to a minimum of 9.8%. Top bonus rates would exceed $9,000 per teacher and student loan forgiveness for teachers who teach a minimum of five years in Florida. The Governor's plan would also crack down on charter schools in the state, preventing an operator of a previously shuttered charter school from operating again in Florida. There’s also $10 million that would be allocated for recruitment efforts.

I would love any education topic to begin with expanded school choice. I’m hoping/counting on the new curriculum/direction that’ll be proposed in a year by the Florida Department of Education including the expansion of vouchers statewide. 

I think Florida’s made great progress in education. Bonuses never should have been tied to college testing in the first place so that makes sense. I’m extremely leery of quotas based on demographics rather than outcomes, but it’s an unfortunate fact that the majority of schools in urban neighborhoods are often among the lowest performing. That makes it challenging for these teachers to obtain incentives based on performance and difficult to attract and retain good teachers in these schools. If these bonuses are for legitimate performance improvement and not just handouts to hit quotas, I could get on board. The average teacher salary in Florida is just over $48k so a $9k bonus provides the potential for a 19% raise based on performance. I can’t imagine any teachers should have an issue with that opportunity. 

Photo by: Getty Images



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