Florida Board Of Education Wants To End "Best And Brightest" Program

Sep 26, 2016

The Florida Board of Education has approved a budget request for the coming fiscal year.

The proposal also recommends against renewing 49 million dollars for the state's controversial teacher-incentive plan.

"The Best and Brightest scholarship program started last year, and gives bonuses up to $10,000 to teachers who scored well on their college entrance exams.

This spring, the Florida Legislature re-authorized the plan for the 2016-17 school year, but many teachers argued that scores from tests taken in high school are a poor indicator of their current teaching skills.

In June, incoming House Speaker Richard Corcoran told WUSF's Florida Matters that he thought the program was "money well spent."

But Education Commissioner Pam Stewart said the Department of Education wants to develop a new teacher incentive program, saying details will come before the board in October.

Teachers still can apply for the “Best and Brightest” bonus for the current year.

The state board’s budget proposal would direct $20.9 billion in state and local tax dollars for funding public education - an increase of almost 2.5 percent.

It is one of many recommendations from state agencies that  lawmakers will consider when they craft Florida’s overall spending plan for the budget year that begins July 1.