Union: Teacher merit pay like a 'nuclear weapon' - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Union: Teacher merit pay like a 'nuclear weapon'

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By Juan Carlos Fanjul - bio | email

WEST PALM BEACH, FL (WFLX) - It's being called a "nuclear weapon" for educators.

A bill, being floated around the state capitol, would require more than 50 percent of teacher pay be based on student performance and not years on the job.

But the Palm Beach County Classroom Teachers Association, the union for teachers, says a proposed state bill to adopt merit pay plans based on FCAT score results, is way to simplistic.

Not all teachers like art and physical education instructors train students for the FCAT, and, the union says, there are way too many variables affecting student performance.

At Roosevelt Community Middle School in West Palm Beach parents picking up their children sided with teachers. "I think that teachers should be paid based on their experience, not FCAT scores. They should be paid based on their abilities to teach our kids," said parent Belinda Byrd.

"The scores can vary based on what children are feeling. If they are nervous, they are going to do bad. It shouldn't be that way," added parent Idali Hilgenfeldt.

The head of Florida's statewide teachers union says the proposed bill is more like a "nuclear weapon".

Robert Dow, president of the CTA agrees, "It's way to simplistic because now you are saying if you are a good teacher, it's going to show up on one test, taken on one day."

A spokesman for the Palm Beach County School District says officials will do whatever the state and federal government tells them to do. However, they want all teachers to be included in a merit pay increase, not just the ones that prepare students for the FCAT.

Florida school districts would be forced to develop merit-pay plans for teachers -- or risk losing state funding.

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