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Side Deals in Florida's Race to Top Application

This story in the St. Petersburg Times is certainly NOT good news for the architects of Florida's Race to the Top application.

Florida, a strong contender in round one of the federal sweepstakes, fell short of winning in part because of the minuscule support that its application garnered from teacher unions. This time around, the state seemed to work extra hard to cultivate union buy-in—softening some of its proposals, especially around merit pay, to get those endorsements—only to have it revealed that some local unions have struck "side deals" that may be an escape valve from actually implementing any substantive changes to teacher evaluation and pay.

According to the article, the state department of education disclosed in the round two application that three such side agreements exist between local unions and districts, but did not include the actual terms or wording of those deals.

So much for transparency.

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