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PRESS RELEASE

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Jennifer Fennell
(850) 245-0413

Statement By:

EDUCATION COMMISSIONER JEANINE BLOMBERG

Regarding the Governor Signing the Merit Award Program into Law

“Recently, the Florida Department of Education conducted a statewide survey of teachers, which revealed that 80 percent of respondents believe their students’ success is a reflection of their efforts. Nationwide, research has shown that the presence of a highly effective teacher in the classroom has the greatest impact on student performance.

Florida is fortunate to have so many outstanding teachers. We must continue to recognize and reward these teachers for what matters most – student learning. Our 21st century learning environment demands a new way to compensate teachers. By rewarding performance, we are better able to attract and keep top teachers.

The Merit Award Program, signed into law today by Governor Crist, will provide school districts with the opportunity to provide financial rewards to teachers whose efforts have resulted in positive outcomes for students.

The Florida Department of Education is committed to further examining teacher compensation and exploring new avenues for rewarding our highest performing teachers. That is why the Department is hosting this May in Orlando, the first-ever national conference dedicated to the topic of redesigning teacher compensation, which will feature nationally renowned experts in this field. I invite anyone with an interest in this subject to attend. More information on the conference can be found on the Department’s website at www.fldoe.org/schools/nationalconference.”