Since I took the SAT in 1974 and my wife in 1976, it will cost each of us over $60.00 to obtain our score from College Board from about 4 decades ago in order to determine if we are entitled to a bonus of up to $10,000 each. You got that - up to a $10,000 bonus because Florida officially recognizes the the effectiveness of a teacher based not upon actual classroom experience or scholarly achievement in college or graduate school, but when they were in high school taking the SAT and/or the ACT. The nuttier part is that it actually allows new teachers that have never been in the classroom an automatic bonus for their performance on the SAT and/or ACT. These barometers of capabilities from one's teenage high school years will determine whether an educator merits a bonus for being a highly effective teacher in Florida.
How many of you did not do well on the SAT and/or ACT because you felt it was not a true indication of how well you would succeed in life? For whatever reason, some did not attain the top 20% on either exam. But everything learned from high school onward, or in front of students while actively engaging in education, is not to be considered qualifications for Florida's educator "merit" pay. Does this sound strange to anyone else? It sure does to me. I know I have learned a lot since I was 15 years old. Have you? How would you like your pay determined today based upon an exam you took 41 years ago. It's so absurd, it gives you pause, but it is very real in Florida today (See; http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/education/fl-teacher-bonus-sat-20150702-story.html)..
So as we begin a new school year in Florida, remind yourselves that anything you did over 40 years ago can come back to either help or hurt you. I wish I knew that then (I would have bought Apple stock)! As President Ronald Reagan once wrote; "My philosophy of life is that if we make up our mind what we are going to make of our lives, then work hard toward that goal, we never lose - somehow we win out." Except when it comes to teaching in Florida. Success on Exams taken decades ago, are the only real Florida factors for success in the classroom. I really couldn't make this stuff up! Have a great week!