Florida’s teachers, unions and school boards have a common enemy and that is Tallahassee, which if you think about it doesn’t make much sense because most children in the state by far go to public schools, which are staffed by union teachers and managed by duly elected school boards. You would think Tallahassee would want to partner with them to improve education, but no, they take every opportunity they can to harm all three.
Florida’s teachers are some of the lowest paid in the nation. They have had creativity and flexibility nearly eradicated from their tool box as they have been forced to teach to the test, which determines everything from pay to if you still have a job and speaking of if you have a job or not, teachers since 2010 are all on one year contracts where they can be fired for any or no reason at the end of a school year.
Furthermore, they have been subjected to harder and more expensive and some cases even required to get additional certifications, while Florida sends over a billion dollars to voucher schools where the teachers don’t have to have any certification let alone a degree.
The state’s school boards have also been a victim of Tallahassee. This is what it says in the state constitution:
Text of Section 4:
School Districts; School Boards
(a) Each county shall constitute a school district; provided, two or more contiguous counties, upon vote of the electors of each county pursuant to law, may be combined into one school district. In each school district there shall be a school board composed of five or more members chosen by vote of the electors in a nonpartisan election for appropriately staggered terms of four years, as provided by law.
(b) The school board shall operate, control and supervise all free public schools within the school district and determine the rate of school district taxes within the limits prescribed herein. Two or more school districts may operate and finance joint educational programs.
What a joke as they have stripped school boards of the power to manage charters and private schools that take public money through vouchers. There are now thousands of schools in Florida that take public money that school boards have little or no over site over.
They have also hampered how much tax money they can raise and what they can do with it as well as sending one funded mandate after another to the districts and now they even want to regulate how long somebody can be on the board.
Then there are teacher unions which despite not having the power to strike, something they need to challenge, that are blamed for everything under the sun. They are so powerful they have gotten us to 46th in spending with their teachers being some of the lowest paid in the nation, who are only on one year contracts.
Despite this you can’t go more than a few minutes without some yokel blaming unions for the ills in public education.
Oh by the way Tallahassee passed a law requiring unions, only teacher unions, police, fire and prison unions were deemed to important, to decertify if they have less than fifty percent membership. You know because unions are the puppeteers pulling the strings in Florida. (sic)
Tallahassee wants to destroy public education and replace it with private schools that take vouchers and for profit charter schools and they don’t care that those two options aren’t responsive to the public and perform worse and to do so they have to neuter school boards, weaken unions and destroy the teaching profession and they are full steam ahead.
I used to think school boards and unions were enemies, but the truth is they have a lot in common, like Tallahassee trying to destroy them both.