From the Palm Beach Post
The latest Rick Scott television ad about his fondness for education and teachers surely is enough to motivate anyone who cares about children to act. This most recent commercial purports to have “teachers” praise some type of educational funding increase fantasy. Can they really be serious? Are they really teachers, or paid spokespersons?
There are two main reasons that people vote against their own best interests. Ignorance is the most common. People have not taken the time to thoroughly investigate the issue, or do not currently have the ability to fully understand the consequences or ramifications of complex problems. Education can cure both of these situations.
The other reason that people do not act in their own interest is poor self-esteem. Unfortunately, selling out for the proverbial 15 minutes of fame can be harmful to others. Who are these women praising the increase in state education dollars? Why are they using only their first names? Not only are they incapable of simple math, their faulty logic could be taught in our classrooms. That is, if they are even classroom teachers in Florida.
His first year in office, Gov. Rick Scott cut $1.3 billion (that’s “billion” with a “B”) from the state education budget. He also eliminated teacher tenure, implemented confusing and arbitrary merit pay that evaluates teachers on the performance of students they have never met, and imposed a 3 percent perpetual pay cut on teachers.
Florida remains in the bottom 10 states for per-pupil spending. Returning a billion dollars after removing a third more than that is not an increase in spending. We are still below the adjusted spending from the first year of the Crist administration. This year’s cutback in Bright Futures scholarship money is, of course, not even mentioned in this latest TV fairy tale.
In related actions, Scott decimated the Deferred Retirement Option Program (DROP) that was an attractive option for teachers approaching retirement age. He is still trying to eliminate the entire Florida Retirement System for public employees, and force dedicated state and local government workers into risky investment fund options.
I do have empathy, however, for these women who will forever be linked to the Scott propaganda wagon. Maybe someday they can recoup their $10,000 (and climbing) pay cut and buy some legitimate television time, or a magazine advertisement that their family can point to with pride. In the interim, there is always Facebook, or Twitter or Instagram and myriad other social media sites available if you have a burning desire to embarrass yourself. Please, though, have mercy on our profession and don’t call yourselves teachers.
JULIE JOYNER, WELLINGTON