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District Trumpets Failings—In Hopes of Funding

A highly regarded Florida school district said that 70 percent of its teachers are ineffective in a proposal for a $120 million grant from the Gates Foundation, reports the Palm Beach Post.

The Palm Beach County school district is the only urban district in Florida to receive an A-rating from the state five years in a row. Even so, in its proposal to the Gates Foundation, district officials also revealed that half of the students in the system’s highest-rated schools were performing below grade level, and that less than 25 percent of their high school graduates were college-ready.

"It's been a real eye-opening experience to look at data and to look at all the places where there's lot of room for improvement," said Bill Graham, the school board chairman.

Palm Beach County was one of 10 school districts nationwide invited to apply for the Gates grant, which it hopes will help to create an extensive “teacher effectiveness system.” The district has promised to contribute another $210 million of its own money toward the system.

Palm Beach’s proposal outlines plans for changing the way teachers are evaluated, paid, and positioned to meet student needs. Under the plan, teachers would be grouped in four different categories based on performance and responsibilities. Those at the highest level would be able to make as much as administrators, according to the Post.

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