Sen. Hob Bryan, D-Amory, was perhaps the first to refer to making teachers “jump through hoops” to get the raise. The phrase quickly caught on with people from both sides of the political aisle saying teachers should not have “to jump through hoops” to get a raise.
It quickly became apparent that many teachers viewed the benchmarks as an insult – especially since new teachers would not have to achieve them.
The question is if the pay raise benchmarks were designed to be absurdly easy to meet, what did they accomplish in terms of being good policy? And the second question is if the benchmarks upset teachers – the group the pay raise was intended to placate – then how are they good politics?
In an extraordinary moment of honesty, when the issue originally was being debated on the House floor, House Appropriations Chairman Herb Frierson, R-Poplarville, said the benchmarks were an effort to allow Gov. Phil Bryant to “save face” since the governor had said any pay raise should include performance measures.
Over in the Senate, Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves and Education Chairman Gray Tollison, R-Oxford, removed the benchmarks and replaced them with a system that could potentially provide teachers a bonus in three years based on their school’s performance.
In the first two years, the Senate plan would provide teachers with larger raises than the House proposal.
Oh, by the way, Reeves referred to the ineffectiveness of requiring teachers to jump through hoops for the raise.