It appears Republicans ended teacher protection out of spite.

In 2011 Governor Rick Scott signed the Student Success Act which among other things ended teacher protections which had been refereed to as tenure, but in actuality they only received after three years of effective service. Teachers could still be fired, it just meant that districts had to go through agreed upon steps before they did so. This was the very first bill Scott signed and was very proud to do so. Please remember that in November. 

“I am proud that the first bill I sign is this important legislation that will give Florida the best educated workforce to compete in the 21st century economy,” Governor Scott said. “We must recruit and retain the best people to make sure every classroom in Florida has a highly effective teacher.”

Gary Chartrand now on the state board of education went on First Coast Connect and said this was a great day for teachers and students alike. Unfortunately it turned out only to be a great day for those that want to dismantle public education and who don’t believe teachers are professionals.

The premise behind the bill was that if the state ended teacher protections it would improve teacher performance. You know because people filled with fear and anxiety and who can’t plan for the future do such a great job.

Also who is going to speak up, say no, or we should try this instead, when they know they can be fired at the end of the year for any or no reason? Fewer and fewer, that’s who.

The legislature disingenuously said they thought the Student Success act would weed out poor teachers, but it had the opposite effect as it weeded out teachers who wanted things like job security. Who could have anticipated that if the sate did all it could to injure the teaching profession then it would lead to a teacher shortage, I mean besides everyone everywhere.

The bill also severely undermined the concept of seniority and doubled down on a complicated mathematical formula known as VAM originally designed to  identify reproductive trends in cattle.

Image result for vam formula

You know, teachers, cows giving birth, teachers, cows giving birth. Now veteran teachers can be surplussed based on their VAM scores and spoiler it won’t mater that they often get the most challenging students because of their experience.

It also stripped bonuses based on education that had long been given. So suddenly in education, higher education was no longer thought of as a good thing. It also meant that teachers could now go deeper in debt by getting advanced degrees and be rewarded with, well the deeper in debt thing.

It put in a provision for merit pay to be phased in, and where I think this has several flaws perhaps the biggest is the state never fully funded it. That 47 cents per student the state gave Duval this year can pay for the raises of about 30 highly effective teachers. This year. Oh and it wasn’t long before the state took three percent of all teacher’s salary in a pension grab.

Florida’s teachers when you factor in cost of living are the worst paid in the nation. Yep that should attract and retain a ton of teachers.

Florida lowest

So we fast forward to today when the Brooking’s Institute said, We
find limited and circumstantial evidence that Florida’s tenure reform
slightly increased student test achievement in math and reading.

Sigh, emphasis me.

The Study went on to say:

Which students were more affected by
SSA? Certainly those with teachers
hired after July 1, 2011. But it is
problematic to compare students with
new teachers to those with more
experienced teachers because
experience itself is a factor in student
achievement, and because student teacher
assignments are not random.
Principals hoping to protect new
teachers from the law’s effects could
have assigned them more high achieving

Experience is a factor, ya think? Well I would say the Florida legislature didn’t but the student success act wasn’t about student success, it was about kneecapping teachers and they did a hell of a job.

Friends it is time for a change while we still have a modicum of a profession left.   

One Reply to “It appears Republicans ended teacher protection out of spite.”

  1. These last 2-3 weeks have been a roller coaster ride in my building. Our admins have been going to budget meetings, trying to restore some funding lost from budget cuts, but they were denied and we were set to lose more than three teaching positions. So, staff was told bright and early before school that this year job security will be based on VAM scores from LAST YEAR and not seniority! I couldn't believe my ears. I am not a tenured teacher. I entered the profession on an annual contract, but I have the utmost respect for tenure teachers. They have wisdom, experience, and knowledge beyond compare. They are invaluable members of any school and the most likely to be placed with students with severe behavior issues and students with special needs due to their experience, but it affects their overall VAM scores heavily. This fact was brought up at the meeting and were told those factors DID NOT matter.

    Inclusion teachers are getting screwed over.
    Teachers with severe behavior students (and no admin-district support because of the terrible revised code of conduct) are getting screwed over.
    Low-income schools with little funding, no resources, and no district support are getting screwed over.

    Why are we going off of VAM scores from previous school year? We don't even get the previous year's VAM scores until like Feb-ish of the current school year.

    Just another stab to the gut in public education's stomach. When will Floridians understand that voting Republican will always turn out badly? I guess it doesn't matter as long as their child's A-school remains unscathed in all of this.

    Absolutely sickening.

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