Northeast Florida if you wanted to destroy education, knee cap the middle class and do harm to the state you have come up aces. Embrace what you have done; own it, because if we get much more of Wise, Thrasher and Scott that will be about all you do own, it’s definitely all your children will.
Congratulations Northeast Florida, you are the epicenter for the destruction of the state’s public schools. Your recent dogged insistence to vote against you and your children’s interests and for politicians that couldn’t care less about the both of you have signaled education’s death knell. When you voted for Steven Wise, John Thrasher and Rick Scott you may as well as put a stake through education’s heart and forks in our children, because they too like our schools are done.
Steven Wise is no friend of public education and this has been made more evident by his senate bill 736 or what he laughably calls the teacher quality bill. In his bill teachers become at will employees and can be fired regardless of performance. Speak up? You’re gone. The principal doesn’t like you? You’re gone. The principal’s neighbor has a nephew who thinks he might like to try teaching because it would be cool to have summers off? You’re gone. This not increased quality, is what senate bill 736 will allow to happen. It also gets rid of pay increases for advanced degrees. I hope this irony is not lost on you. In every profession we say the more education you get the better off you will be, every profession except education that is, and it also gets rid of seniority and due process, two of the long established tenants of education.
The bill is also another unfunded mandate. School districts will be required to come up with ways to finance the various teacher salary scales and all the increased testing that the bill calls for. Kids will be taught more to the test than ever because now a teacher’s job is on the line more than ever. These tests are not just going to magically appear. They will be developed and scored by educational testing companies who will drain much needed money away from schools coffers and reap millions in profits. Then there will also be teacher evaluation systems that has Michelle Rhee and others salivating. Oh you didn’t know Michelle Rhee has a teacher evaluation system. Why she does, it’s called IMPACT and it has widely been panned in Washington D.C. which means it is probably on the fast track to Florida; after all she is the darling of Rick Scott and Wise.
Steven Wise has cloaked the bill in simplistic easy to please statements like merit pay and reward our best teachers. He doesn’t mention that teachers, who may know better what’s best for them than he does are overwhelmingly against it. His bill is like giving doctors who didn’t ask for it a clump or dirt and saying it’s a cutting edge scalpel and they must use it. Wise also doesn’t mention that there is no study that says merit pay works. Not one! In fact all the studies say it is the equivalent of the luck of the draw. Teacher’s student’s success on standardized tests varies wildly as students enter and leave their classes.
Wise says he wants to improve education, my question is how? Is it by making teachers want to leave and replacements harder to attract because that is what his bill is really doing; hey Jacksonville great job in voting for him.
Then there is John Thrasher who makes no apologies for his distain, no make that hatred for teachers and their unions and he comes from St. Johns County which is the top school district in the state, thank goodness he didn’t come from a county lower on the list. Wake up St. Johns, his way of thinking is going to hurt the schools and kids in your county as well but I guess some of you didn’t think about that while shooting nine at the country club. Would Deborah Giannoulis really have been such a bad alternative? She ran on a platform of doing what’s best for our kids, Thrasher has a history of doing what’s not.
He wants to end collective bargaining and destroy workers rights. He wants to do this by ending payroll deductions for unions but at the same time continue to allow payroll deductions for the United Way and other organizations and by decertifying unions that have a membership of less than fifty percent plus one. Why should multi-million or billion dollar corporations, his friends and supporters be the only one with a voice in government? In the end all his bill amounts to is rewarding his friends and silencing his enemies. Even if you don’t like unions, is this the America you want to live in? Do you want to live in a country where our corporate over loads tell us what to think and feel and limit the earning power of millions of everyday citizens; if so communist Russia would have been the place for you. This is not just a teacher battle here, this is a battle for the future of the middle class and if we are going to have one or not. Way to go St. Johns, you have just destroyed the teaching profession and public education but potentially the middle class as well, talk about a trifecta.
Thrasher and Wise are so concerned about education that instead of demanding Scott rescind his draconian budget, they develop bills that will handicap and set back the profession. No thanks guys and don’t worry about me I’ll try and get somebody to pull the knife out of my and the thousands of teachers back you just put it in.
Then there is Rick Scott, he of the 1.7 billion dollar fine for fraud who won the election with less than fifty percent of the vote, which was more of a referendum against Obama than for him. You have to hand it to him though, while spending eighty million dollars of his own personal fortune he made the election about Washington D.C. not about Florida. I get it that you don’t like Obammacare but how do you feel about gutting social services for the sick, disabled and children. How do you feel about him curtailing protections for the environment and our rivers and how do you feel about him cutting billions from our already resource starved education system? Friends we were already fiftieth in the nation. He and this is adjusted for inflation, wants to send us back to 1976 levels of school spending, you know before all the unfunded mandates and changes to education that siphoned millions away to corporate charter schools, vouchers and education testing companies.
North East Florida voted for this transplant and while hoping to create additional tax breaks for corporations and wealthy individuals in addition to the billions we already give, he seeks to balance the budget on the backs of the working poor and the middle class. Cut your own throat much North East Florida.
He won by saying he would create jobs, well the tens of thousands of teachers and government workers who are about to find themselves unemployed aren’t so optimistic about his plan. And friends we are already a low tax, pro business state without an income tax. If companies aren’t rushing here now do you really thing they are going to do so after we destroy public education, curtail government services and harm the environment?
Northeast Florida once again, if you wanted to destroy education, knee cap the middle class and do harm to the state you have come up aces. Embrace what you have done; own it, because if we get much more of Wise, Thrasher and Scott that will be about all you do, it’s definitely all your children will.