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PRESS RELEASE

December 13, 2006

Cathy Schroeder
(850) 245-0413

Statement by Education Commissioner John L. Winn Regarding FEA Challenge of Special Teachers Are Rewarded (STAR) Program

"The STAR program serves the students of Florida by ensuring they have high-quality teachers at the front of the classroom. Following yesterday's State Board of Education approval of three more district STAR plans and recognition of 16 additional plans meeting the substantive requirements of the law, it is clear to me that the program is gaining momentum across the state. Any major change in practice takes time to gain acceptance, and STAR is no exception.

I believe that the availability of an end-of-course assessment clearinghouse has paved the way for full implementation statewide. FEA realizes this and seems to be grasping at straws to stop this momentum. It is unfortunate that they launched yet another attempt to prevent the state's best teachers from being rewarded for their efforts.

Although the Department continues to seek opportunities to partner with FEA leadership to work together toward our common goals to improve education, this is an area in which we disagree."