DeSantis to seek 'Best and Brightest' changes

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Gov. Ron DeSantis said Friday he will propose an overhaul of the state’s controversial Best and Brightest teacher-bonus program.

The program, first approved by the Legislature in 2015, has been controversial and drawn legal challenges, at least in part, because it factors in teachers’ college-entrance SAT or ACT scores in determining whether bonuses are received.

DeSantis said he heard complaints about the use of the college-entrance scores while he campaigned last year.

“To me, that (using the college-entrance scores) didn’t make sense. You’re already in a professional setting, and teaching is as much about the heart as the head,” DeSantis said as he released his 2019-2020 budget proposal during a news conference at the Capitol.

DeSantis said he would announce the proposed Best and Brightest changes next week and indicated that the plan could lead to more money for teachers in schools that qualify for the federal Title 1 program, which aids schools that serve large numbers of low-income students.

“We have the possibility of rewarding a really significant percentage of teachers in these Title 1 schools,” he said.