The president of the Clay County Education Association says teacher pay raises are long overdue but he doesn't believe they should be tied to teacher performance.
Steve Richards says public school teachers and workers are the reasons so many gains have been made in education. Richards says he appreciates Governor Rick Scott for wanting to increase teacher salaries. However, he doesn't agree it should be tied to evaluations.
"With the legislature saying that they only want to give money to the highly effective teachers or the effective teachers, that presents a problem."
The state House and Senate approved $480 million dollars for teacher pay raises. Teachers who are ranked as effective would receive $2500 and those ranked as highly effective would receive $3500.
Richards says there are a multitude of teachers who cover many areas of specializations. He doesn't believe the evaluation system should be the sole determining factor in pay raises.
"We have high quality teachers doing a variety of different jobs within our school district all with the same goal of moving our children forward."
Richards says it would be difficult to provide evaulation for teachers who work with physically and mentally disabled students. He says, "Teachers who are working with or training mentally handicapped students, how do we link their scores on an evaluation?"
Richards says the hours teachers spend in and out of the classroom are long. He also notes that it can be challenging working with students who aren't always productive in class. He says public school educators work especially hard to make sure every child gets the benefit of a quality education. For that reason he says, teachers deserve across-the-board pay raises.
"It is a tough job and it's not a calling for everybody but for those who have taken on the task, it provides a sense of stability to the community and our families."
Governor Rick Scott expressed his elation over the performance based teacher pay raises. Scott says in a statement, "Our teachers are some of the best in the nation and they deserve to be rewarded for their great work.”
The final plan would be created and improved by each school board across the state of Florida.