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Teacher merit pay bill filed in Senate

State lawmakers are taking a second stab at legislation that would overhaul the way Florida’s teachers are evaluated and paid.

State Sen. Stephen Wise, a Jacksonville Republican and chairman of the Senate pre-K education committee, filed a bill this week that would base a portion of teacher evaluations on student test scores.

Those evaluations would then determine which teachers receive raises.

In addition to test scores, the evaluations would take into account factors including student poverty, attendence, disabilities and language skills.

State Rep. Eric Fresen, a Miami Republican who chairs the House education committee, is expected to file a House version in the next two weeks.

Most teachers statewide currently receive raises based on years of service. They are often evaluated by a school administrator, not based on student performance.

State lawmakers passed similar legislation last year. But the measure met resistance from teachers, ultimately leading former Gov. Charlie Crist to veto it.

Teachers said the old legislation relied too heavily on test scores and took too much power from local school boards and teachers’ unions.

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