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Teachers to get bonuses for high scores in college admissions tests

Teachers in Florida could be handed a bonus in their pay packets for doing well in a test they took aged 17 or 18, after a bill was approved by the state legislature.

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The Florida House voted in favor of a bill putting into law the “Best and Brightest” program, which will give teachers a bonus every year if they scored highly in their college admissions tests.

Supporters of the policy believe it will encourage more of top graduates to enter into the teaching profession, but the initiative was branded as a “waste of money” by critics.

The policy will cost the state $44 million, and a little over 5,300 out of 175,000 Florida teachers will qualify for the bonus.

It comes just days after President Barack Obama announced $1 billion to pay the best teachers in the coutnry more to work in high-need schools. 

The idea is the brainchild of Republican state representative Erik Fresen, who believes it will act as both a recruitment and a retention tool.

Last month, he told a Senate panel that “common sense would tell you that a smarter person may do a better job teaching”.

The program will offer bonuses to existing teachers rated “highly effective” and also scored in the top 20 percentile when they took their SAT or ACT tests at high school. First-year teachers will be eligible based on just their test scores.  

Opponents have labeled the bill “ridiculous”, “ill thought out” and “unfair”. 

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