Scott Explores Changes in Higher Education

Gov. Rick Scott is exploring dramatic higher-education reforms that are similar to those already under way in Florida’s public school districts.

Patterned after reforms being championed by Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who recently announced he’s running for president, Scott is looking at changing the way professors are paid and moving toward a merit-pay system with limits on tenure.

Texas has been debating such changes to save money and bolster professor productivity — going so far as to consider tying professor pay to how many students they teach and how much research money they bring in.

Instructors would get annual bonuses as high as $10,000 a class if they rated highly on student satisfaction surveys. Even the assignment of faculty offices and parking spaces would be based on their performance.

Such reforms were designed to move Texas colleges toward more of a business model in which students are viewed as consumers purchasing a product — a college degree.

While the proposals have made the Lone Star State a lightening rod in higher-education circles nationwide, Scott said at least some of the ideas might be a good fit for Florida too.

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