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DeSantis Announces Significant Boost to Best and Brightest Teachers Program

February 8, 2019 - 9:00am

Gov. Ron DeSantis chose a Tampa classroom to announce Thursday "bold steps" to reform the Best and Brightest Teachers program with a renewed investment to recruit and retain the best, most dedicated educators for Florida schools. This includes more than $422 million for compensation increases to the most effective teachers and principals in our public schools throughout Florida.

“I’m proud to announce these steps we are taking to ensure our state recruits and retains the very best educators for Florida schools,” said Governor DeSantis. “This renewed investment will reward highly effective teachers and principals across our state who are making a positive impact in our students lives. We are also proposing a new recruitment program to bolster the educational ranks of our schools and ensure our students are receiving the best education possible.”

Under this new program, nearly 45,000 highly effective teachers would be eligible for bonuses exceeding $9,000. It would also include bonuses of up to $6,500 for principals at schools throughout Florida to reward those who are creating classroom environments to help students thrive. In addition, the new program would remove the SAT/ACT requirements for teachers to be eligible for a bonus.

Also, the new plan would implement an innovative, first-of-its-kind investment in teacher recruitment by establishing the Teacher Talent Pipeline in Florida. This new program would include $10 million per year for the next five years to launch a loan and tuition forgiveness program for as many as 1,700 new teachers per year who commit to working as a teacher in Florida for five years.

The DeSantis Administration will also work in conjunction with the Florida Legislature to develop a Bad Actor List to prevent school operators who have been sanctioned or shut down by the state from working with Florida schools in the future. These individuals would be banned from engaging with schools in our state in any capacity for life.


Does Ron DeSantis have any new ideas or is just going to enhance the work of others and then claim it as his own?

Don't turn the bonuses into the kind of stupidity where an individual lottery winner can win hundreds of millions of dollars, Spread the money around! Bonuses "exceeding $9,000" are probably out of line. Better to reward two teachers with a $5,000 bonus each rather than just one getting $10,000!

How about including support for classroom discipline so teachers can teach and students (who want to) can learn?

You raise an excellent point. The other issue is that when schools actually enforce discipline rules, follow state guidelines in writing referrals and in assigning consequences they are penalized because they have a higher number of DOCUMENTED referrals/disciplinary actions versus those schools who just call the parents to come and get the students and/or keep them home for a set number of days without generating the required written referral and disciplinary action in the system. This ACTUALLY happens. I just spoke with my god-daughter and my "grand-godson" who is in third grade has been told to stay home for x number of days on multiple occassions. Ironically, her fiancee was told that "we could put you in jail for all of the days he has missed" when he picked him up one day. I asked her if she had been given a copy of the referral listing the disciplinary action, as required. She replied that all of this has been verbal and that he has either missed days because of a severe asthma attack or because she was told to keep him home! In addition, although they received the paperwork for his ADHD status and administer his afternoon dose, they have never set up an appointment to put him on a 504 plan and give him accomodations!! After we talked she is going in and demanding that they do a 504. When some schools have a really low number of referrals (below the district average) the district needs to investigate to see if this kind of scam is going on.

That is an excellent suggestion.

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