Florida Department of Education announces bonuses for teachers in high-needs public schools

7/18/2019

Yesterday, the Department of Education announced a new incentive program designed to attract high-quality teachers to underperforming Title I schools. 

Under this initiative, teachers who have received a “highly effective” or “effective” value-added model score (VAM), as determined by an average of the teacher’s scores over the last three years, and are teaching in a D or F school on August 30, 2019 will be eligible. Teachers who earned a highly effective score will receive up to $15,000 while those who earned an effective score will receive up to $7,500. As of now, it is uncertain how the actual amount will be determined.

"Our research has shown that low pay is a major reason why Duval County teachers leave the classroom, and we believe we must recruit and retain great teachers in our struggling schools to help close the opportunity gap,” said Rachael Tutwiler Fortune, President of JPEF. I'm glad to see our state leaders focused on putting more resources into Title 1 schools. We'll be looking forward to more details about how this program will be implemented." 

The funding comes from federal funds with $15.8 million earmarked for the program. In announcing the incentives, Commissioner of Education Corcoran focused on the connection between high-quality teachers and student outcomes, and the need for great teachers in schools with the biggest needs. Governor DeSantis similarly praised the program’s intent, stating that “all Florida students, regardless of income or zip code, deserve the chance to receive a world-class education.”

In Duval County, 23 schools received a D or F for the 2018-19 school year. All of these schools are designated as Title I, meaning at least 40 percent of their students are low-income. To help these struggling schools improve student proficiency, the Jacksonville Public Education Fund (JPEF) is launching a School Leadership Initiative this fall focused on supporting school leaders working in Title 1 elementary schools in partnership with Duval County Public Schools.

The announcement comes on the heels of other Florida teacher compensation-related news, including a settlement in the Best and Brightest lawsuit as well a new lawsuit over taxes allegedly withheld, and a renewed commitment to increasing teacher pay. Florida currently ranks 46th in the country for teacher compensation. I believe this is a step in the right direction and look forward to future developments. Check back with JPEF for updates as the program goes into effect next month. 

Want to know more about VAM scores and how they are calculated? We explain the teacher evaluation tool in our brief. 

—Laura Alrutz, Senior Manager of Policy and Advocacy 

 

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