Gov. DeSantis: tear down this “Best and Brightest” wall and free the money now

Polk County has $9.9 million on hand in state teacher compensation money from Tallahassee that I would like to pay to my employees in recurring salary increases. It is not part of the collective bargaining Sophie’s Choice between flat raises or health care spikes that has just been negotiated with a different $10 million. 

This is the so-called “Best-and-Brightest” bonus program, perhaps the stupidest, least effective teacher recruitment/retention program ever passed by any government. It’s the one that started as a reward to teachers for high SAT/ACT high scores because…reasons. And last session, your legislators — Kelli Stargel and company — actually made that worse by limiting who will receive it and making the formula utterly incomprehensible and arbitrary.

Tallahassee completely dictates how “Best and Brightest” money is used; but for accounting and political purposes, they sent it down to local districts this year so they could claim they gave us more money to help compensate employees. It’s a typically cynical political move, devoid of any sense of shared responsibility. But that’s who they are.

“Best and Brightest” is so dumb and so ineffective that it’s already a dead bonus walking. Powerful Republican Senator Gus Bradley has already filed a bill to repeal it this coming session. Your legislature spends half its time repealing its own counterproductive stupidity in education. Over and over and over again.

Anyway, divided among all 13,000-ish employees, this “Best and Brightest” $10 million would mean a $700 recurring raise for every employee. If limited to teachers, as the bonus is targeted, it would mean a $1,521 recurring raise for all teachers.

So, today, I’m calling on Gov. DeSantis and Kelli Stargel and Chris Latvala and the whole crew of “reform” comrades to stop acting like late stage Soviets, so desperately clinging to a dead ideology. Time to let Jeb go as your Lenin. (And Corcoran as your Stalin.)

Tear down this stupid wall.

Hold an emergency vote, today, that allows districts to opt-out and use that money for salaries. So easy. Show us you give a damn.

2 comments

  1. I agree to make education work it takes more than just teachers and to tell some teachers they are not worth anything when you have not walked in their shoes is crazy.
    We have people that get our kids to and from school bus drivers, mechanics that keep those buses running and safe, people that feed our kids (some of these kids this is their only meals), we have maintenance that repairs our schools that make our buildings safe, secretaries that handle the every day business of the schools, administration that makes sure teachers get what they need to teach, district people to make sure schools get what they need and custodial staff that cleans the schools. It takes all these employees to educate our children and the people in Tallahassee for some reason does not understand this because if they did they would have programs for all school board employees in this state. Our children deserve more from our governor and legislature.

  2. Marjorie Patterson

    Why can they not understand that it takes a village to raise a child? And we are that village. We ALL deserve raises. We are at poverty level and cannot live on the same monies for years and years and years. #FUNDOURFUTURE