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Friday, March 31, 2017

A promising legislative session turns into another %$#^ show

I will admit, I was encouraged by this legislative session more than any other in memory. There were bills mandating recess, dramatically scaling back testing, increasing teacher pay and even putting some modest restrictions on charters. Sadly however most of those bills have petered out and the Florida legislative session has devolved into hurt kids, teachers and public education #$%^ show.

First there is recess which had 56 co-sponsors. With that many people behind it there was no way it could fail right? Well the house bill has gone from all elementary students getting 20 minutes of recess a day, to K-third grades getting it occasionally and to hell with 4th and 5th graders.  

Next there is a union busting bill that overwhelmingly passed in the house. It states that union with less than 5o % membership would have to decertify and thus end collective bargaining. Oh police, fire and correction officers would be exempt meaning the bill really just effects teachers unions. The house routinely passes bills that seek to harm the teaching profession.

Then despite the fact hundreds of charter schools have failed wasting hundreds of millions of dollars and throwing tens of thousands of students and their communities into disarray and the fact as a group they don’t do any better than public schools. The legislature is seeking to expand them. Talk about political donations in action.

When the Florida House Education Committee meets Thursday, it will take up a proposal that could dramatically change the face of the state's public school system, opening it to more charter schools.

Finally, at the beginning of the session there was a push to increase teacher salaries, well that has devolved into a fight on how much to fund the best and brightest bonuses. The universally reviled and embarrassing system that awards teachers’ money on not how they did in the classroom but on how they did on the SATs.

HB 7069 was fast-tracked to the floor in the past three weeks, with only two committee hearings. It's unclear how fast the House will take up the bill; it could be as early as next week.
The expansion proposal allows more "highly effective" teachers and — for the first time — principals to qualify for an annual bonus. Instead of only using on the teachers' SAT or ACT scores from high school, teachers could qualify next year by also using graduate school entrance exam scores, like the GRE or the LSAT.
Democrats on the Appropriations Committee said they still don’t like the premise of rewarding teachers based on assessment scores and they want the Legislature to use the additional funding to instead find a way to raise the salaries of all teachers.
“We just need to give our teachers raises and stop beating around the bush in how we do it,” said Broward County Rep. Shevrin Jones, D-West Park.

You know because BS bonuses for some just aren’t going to do the job.

I want to remind you that republicans have controlled both branches in the legislature and governor’s mansion for over 20 years and for the last 15 or so have done all they can do damage public education. Isn’t it past time we said no more?


  1. Once again I'll say it... think about your profession and the children you are supposed to serve and vote accordingly. Teachers can have a voice. After all we employ a large enough group to sway the votes. Stop letting your husbands and preacher tell you how to vote and think for yourself for once and consider, read about and learn how your vote will affect our future and the future of our children. Good grief it's not rocket science! Do you think for one minute a doctor votes for the senator who is going to distroy his practice? Do lawyers vote for the senator who is going to pay them on cases they win? Teachers complain because they don't get respected. Then get out and speak up for your profession instead of just taking it. Start with the majority of your school board who have no respect for teachers which showed when they brought in Vitti. If you missed his comments about teachers in Detroit I believe he said something like a good teacher is important but he now realizes curriculum is the most important thing in a classroom not teachers. Wow! Engage NY much?

  2. Republicans won't be happy til they've destroyed traditional public education & all students are enrolled in McCharter schools. They call it school choice but we all know what it really means. Teacher unions are little more than paper tigers these days.