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?

2 Replies to “A promising legislative session turns into another %$#^ show”

  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.

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