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April 7, 2005
Survey Shows Strong Public Support for Combining Better Teacher Pay with Market Incentives and Rewards for Achievement Gains
Florida’s Education Reforms On Target
TALLAHASSEE- Governor Jeb Bush and Education Commissioner John L. Winn applaud the results of a bipartisan survey released today by the Teaching Commission. More than 75 percent of those polled support higher salaries for teachers working in high-poverty schools and a majority of the public and teachers support higher salaries for teachers in subject areas with serious shortages, such as math, science and special education.
The outcomes from this survey support Governor Bush’s recently introduced education reform package, which includes a broad pay increase for teachers and higher pay for teachers based upon the following:
- Subject area - teachers in shortage subject areas
- Economic demographics at the school - teachers and administrators working in predominantly poor schools
- Crime level of the community and safety level of the school - teachers and administrators working in schools with greater safety problems
- Job duties performed as described in the teacher BEST career ladder - teachers taking on additional duties such as lead and mentor teachers
"Florida leads the nation in education reform and this study validates our direction," said Governor Bush. "Teachers are our most valuable asset and their dedication and commitment should be recognized and rewarded."
Building on the success of the A+ Plan for Education, the Governor’s reform package provides teachers with the tools and resources to provide Florida's students with a high-quality education. The Teaching Commission survey finds widespread support among the public and teachers for an education reform agenda that pairs pay increases for teachers with pay innovations, new accountability measures, and other major reforms.
"Highly qualified teachers, without question, are the key to students achieving academic success. We must do everything possible to increase teachers’ salaries in the State of Florida to attract and retain the finest of teachers and to recognize teachers as the true professionals they are," added bill sponsor Senator Evelyn Lynn.
House bill sponsor, Representative John Stargel continued, "This survey shows that our legislation is in step with what the public wants - financial incentives for quality teachers who teach in low income and high crime areas, or in subject areas where there is a teacher shortage."
Highlights of the survey:
- The survey revealed a widespread belief that it is time to pay teachers differently. Approximately three in four members of the general public (76 percent) and public school teachers (77 percent) support higher salaries to teachers working in high-poverty schools; and a majority of the public (71 percent) and teachers (52 percent) support higher salaries for teachers in subject areas with serious shortages, such as math, science and special education.
- While a strong majority of the general public (70 percent) favors raising teacher salaries across the board, support grows substantially, to 80 percent, when a broad pay increase is combined with larger increases for teachers responsible for the biggest student achievement gains as well as higher standards and more accountability for teachers.
- By 55 to 42 percent, teachers support a reform agenda that raises teacher salaries but offers larger increases to teachers who improve student achievement the most, while also raising teaching standards and increasing accountability for teachers.
- The general public says the quality of teachers is the single most important factor in determining students’ academic performance, ahead of parental involvement, school resources, and other factors.
"The Governor's education reforms are based on the basic principle that teacher excellence is vital to student achievement and this survey confirms that," Commissioner Winn said.
Two surveys were conducted by Hart Research and Harris Interactive (formerly Wirthlin Worldwide) on behalf of The Teaching Commission. One was of 807 adults, including an oversample of 127 public school parents. The other, with overlapping content, was of 553 public school teachers. Both were fielded late last year. The full poll report and executive summary can be found at www.theteachingcommission.org.