As more states across the nation look for ways to recognize and reward excellent teachers, a new study reveals at least one large pocket of resistance for providing additional compensation to star teachers.

Examining the impact of a 2011 Florida law which mandates that Florida school districts provide the highest salary awards available to teachers who are rated “Highly Effective”, the study from the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) finds little evidence of district buy-in.

The study, Backing the Wrong Horse: The Story of One State’s Ambitious but Disheartening Foray into Performance Pay, shows how 16 out of a sample of 18 Florida districts are continuing to pay higher salary awards to teachers who earn graduate degrees than teachers whose performance stands out. On average, the reward for a Master’s degree in these districts is four times greater than the reward for being found Highly Effective.

These results demonstrate a clear disconnect between the law’s intent and its implementation, according to the study. Districts appear to skirt the law with unanticipated distinctions made between those rewards paid out for performance and other kinds of salary rewards.

(Next page: Most districts have opted to stick with this traditional “trigger” for a salary award)


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