Law Says Bonus Pay Only for Teachers with Advanced Degrees in Subject They Teach

June 30, 2012

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

1. incentive (n.) [in-sen-tiv] –a reward (money, gift, etc.) that motivates or encourages someone to work harder
Example: Money incentives are given to employees who stay in the company for more than 5 years.

2. doctorate (n.) [dok-ter-it] – the highest academic degree in any field of knowledge
Example: After college, he plans to get a master’s degree, followed by a doctorate degree.

3. overlap (v.) [oh-ver-lap]– to share the same parts, interests, time, etc., as something else
Example: Some topics in my Asian history class overlap with my Japanese history class.

4. amendment (n.) [uh-mend-muhnt] – a change to improve something
Example: The official suggested some amendments to the voting rules to lessen the chance of cheating during the elections.

5. union (n.) [yoon-yuhn] – an association or organization with a common purpose
Example: The teachers formed a union to make sure the school pays them fairly.

Read the text below.

A law in Florida called the Student Success Act of 2011 says teachers must have advanced degrees related to the subject they teach in order to get bonus pay.

According to Republican representative Matt Gaetz, the law’s co-author, the law was designed to give incentives to teachers who focus on improving students’ performance.

Teachers with advanced degrees related to the subjects they teach can receive bonus pay because they help students learn better than teachers with advanced degrees in unrelated subjects.

Before the law was implemented, teachers with a doctorate degree in any course received bonus pay as high as $5,200.

The law only applies to all new teachers, or those employed after July 1, 2011. The law has angered more than one-third (1/3) of the 141 new teachers hired last year in Florida’s Brevard Public Schools.

One of these teachers is Scott Johnson, an Algebra teacher, who did not receive a $2,625 incentive although he has a master’s degree in Space Science. He argues that the two subjects overlap, since physics in Space Science is just Applied Math.

Gaetz admitted that because of overlapping in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) subjects there may still be some amendments to the law.

However, Richard Smith, president of Brevard’s teacher’s union, said that other subjects can also overlap. For example, having an advanced degree in History can still be useful when teaching about Literature.

Teacher’s bonus pay has been an issue not only in Florida, but in Indiana and other US states as well.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor. 

Discussion A

·         Aside from bonus pay, what do you think are the advantages of teachers who have advanced degrees?
·         Do you think teachers should focus on or keep studying only one subject? Why or why not?

Discussion B

·         For you, how important are incentives in work or in school?
·         How do you think people can still be encouraged to work even without incentives?

June 30, 2012