The careful staff analysis of the proposed committee bill the PreK-20 Competitiveness Subcommittee of the Florida House will consider today includes some commentary on the language regarding differential pay and advanced degrees. I’ll insert it here without comment, except to say that there are subtleties to the issues that I haven’t mentioned previously (or even fully appreciated), particularly the issue of salary supplements (which are temporary) vs. adjustments to base pay (which are presumably permanent).
The bill defines a supplement as an increase in pay of fixed duration which does not become part of permanent base salary; however, the supplement is considered compensation under the Florida Retirement System. Similar to differentiated pay under current law, salary supplements must reward instructional personnel and school administrators who are assigned to Title 155 or chronically low performing schools, certified and teaching in a critical shortage area, or assigned additional academic responsibilities. Existing critical teacher shortage area tuition incentives and differentiated pay have not fulfilled the personnel needs of high-need schools and subject areas. Salary supplements will help attract high-performing instructional personnel and school administrators to work in such schools and subject areas.
To more closely align critical teacher shortage areas to the criteria for awarding salary supplements, the bill redefines critical teacher shortage areas as high-need content areas and high-priority location areas, e.g. low socio-economic status and chronically low-performing schools. The state board and district school boards must consider current and emerging educational requirements and workforce demands when identifying critical teacher shortage areas.
Consistent with research showing that holding an advanced degree has little bearing on a teacher’s effectiveness, the bill prohibits the use of advanced degrees in setting base salary for instructional personnel hired on or after July 1, 2011. School districts may provide a salary supplement for advanced degrees to classroom teachers if the degree is in the subject area of teaching and certification. Other instructional personnel may receive a supplement if the degree is directly related to their job assignment.