Teachers unions in Florida have gotten a bad rap recently. They have been accused of everything from protecting bad teachers to standing in the way of reform and nothing could be further from the truth. All they have done is insist teachers get due process and tried to make sure education reform was data driven. Charter schools, virtual schools and merit pay the darlings of the conservative reform movement have either been proven not to work or proven not to work any better and they take much needed resources away from cash starved public schools.
Regardless if you like teachers unions or not you must recognize their significance and importance. They are the last line of defense in Florida fighting to prevent our governor and legislature from privatizing public schools, This would put control of our children’s education in the hands of for profit corporations that are more concerned with the bottom line rather than what is best for our children. The legislatures latest proposals gives charter schools 15 year contracts (teachers will only have one year contracts) eliminates local school board over site and allows them to be managed from anywhere, states or even countries away. Teachers unions think it’s best when locals decided their education policies and what is best for their children.
The plan is to privatize public education will effectively destroying it and once it’s gone it will be gone and there will be no coming back to the time when local districts decided what was best for their children. That will be lost forever.