Education

New Florida Teacher Bonus Program Draws Complaints

Oct 12, 2015
John O'Connor / WLRN

In Brigette Kinney’s design class at Ada Merritt K-8 center in Miami, one of the key concepts is editing and revising ideas after getting feedback.

Her 8th graders create role-playing games based on books they read. Then they adjust the games  after watching their classmates play.

Kinney hopes Florida lawmakers will be as open to change as her students.

“I feel that legislators are out of touch with what it means to be a good teacher,” she said.

Florida school districts received the first round of test results from the Florida Standards Assessments this week.

The results show what percentage of students in each district scored within each quartile of all Florida students taking the exams. Parents can expect more detailed scores for their students in October.

Juan Salgado is president and CEO of the Instituto del Progreso Latino in Chicago, and today he was among the 24 winners of this year’s MacArthur Foundation “genius grants” who will each receive $625,000 over five years, no strings attached. Salgado’s organization has become a national model for helping immigrants learn English and improve their work skills.

More than 80 colleges are creating a website where students will be able to apply to dozens of them and get help along the way.

John O'Connor / WLRN

Miami teacher Brigette Kinney said she doesn’t always hear about school news when classes are out for the summer.

So Kinney missed the word that state legislators set aside $44 million for bonuses based on SAT and ACT scores during a special summer budget session. Teachers who scored in the top 20 percent the year they took the exam and earned a “highly effective” teacher evaluation are eligible.

But Kinney said she didn’t learn about the bonuses until she returned to school in August -- and that may have been too late.

alpima / Flickr

Know the joke about how many college students it takes to screw in a light bulb?

Probably not, since it’s not a real joke. Nor is the decision some comedians are making to avoid college campuses where they say students today are too easily offended.

Back in June, comedian Jerry Seinfeld told ESPN radio that he was joining Chris Rock, Larry the Cable Guy and others who won’t play college campuses because they’ve become too politically correct.

John O'Connor / WLRN

You might be forgiven for mistaking Miami Beach High School’s auditorium for the Fillmore Thursday.

Students waved lit cellphones above their heads.

They sang along with “whoa-oh-oh” choruses.

But when the concert ended,  they got a lesson in what some have dubbed nature’s most powerful force.

“It’s called compounding interest," says Gooding, the guitarist who uses only the one name professionally and is lead singer of a band by the same name (though in all caps). "Raise your hand if you know what compounding interest is? I won’t make you say it. Awesome.”

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stanfordedtech / Flickr

Last week the international  Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development released the results of a global study looking at the effect of technology on 15-year-olds' test scores.

The group oversees one of the most important international exams, so its research matters.

gonzalewis / Flickr

Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle raised sharp questions Thursday about a study that Florida Department of Education officials say validated the state's controversial new standardized test for public-school students.

Members of the Senate Education Pre-K-12 Committee reviewed the study of the Florida Standards Assessment, as the new test is called, and suggested that the department had portrayed the report's conclusions in an overly optimistic light and wondered whether teacher evaluations and school grades should be tied to the exam.

Carl Juste / Miami Herald

With fresh haircuts and the knowledge lunch would be waiting on the bus when they arrived, about two dozen Miami Northwestern High School students headed to Washington, D.C. early Thursday morning.

This is an annual trip put together by an organization called 5000 Role Models of Excellence. The group arranges service projects for students who join the club and helps them find mentors.

They’ll be meeting with Civil Rights leader and U.S. Rep. John Lewis, attending the Congressional Black Caucus’ annual conference and visiting the White House.

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