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McCollum blames teachers for Fla losing out on federal education funds

by Dara Kam | March 29th, 2010

Attorney General and GOP gubernatorial hopeful Bill McCollum blamed the teachers’ union for Florida’s failure to win out on the first round of federal “Race to the Top” education funds.

The Florida Education Association, that opposed the stimulus funds, is “now responsible for the loss of potentially hundreds of millions of dollars for Sunshine State students, teachers and schools,” McCollum campaign manager Matt Williams said in a press release.

“Today’s announcement by the U.S. Department of Education that Florida was not selected as a first round winner of the Race to the Top competition is a disappointing reminder the unions will continue to put the interests of bureaucracy over the best interests of Florida’s children,” Williams accuses.

Sen. John Thrasher, who also serves as the chairman of the Republican Party of Florida, joined in the teacher-bashing chorus although Gov. Charlie Crist said he remained hopeful that the state could ultimately win some of the $4 billion in federal funds.

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36 Responses to “McCollum blames teachers for Fla losing out on federal education funds”

  1. misterk37 Says:


    mccollum wants to blame teachers for florida’s failure to obtain RT3 money?

    now that’s chutzpah.

    i’ve got news for him.

    it is his — and his republican party’s — disrespect for the teaching profession, his support of that piece of drek called sb6, his targeting of every good idea that supports education, that resulted in florida’s loss of funds.

    he has no one to blame but himself.

    i don’t know how he can look at himself in the mirror, after trying to dismantle public education in florida.

    shame on him.

  2. Ed Says:

    Too bad, CTA should hold firm and NOT participate and endorse RTTT. Keep PBC out of it.

    Teachers call CTA and tell them NO!

    Watch your association/union. They threw you under the bus when they gave away your steps.

    Tell local CTA reps NO, NO, NO!

    Keep local control, don’t let the feds in.

    Time for NEW SCHOOL BOARD MEMBERS. The current ones have done NOTHING to stop RTTT.

    Are these the people you want to continue in office.

    NO to Richmond, Graham, Robinson and Hill.

  3. Mayor Mose Says:

    Since the teacher union was stubborn about letting florida capture these grant dollars, the legislature now intends to make up for this budget setback by passing SB 6 (teacher performance pay).

    Since they were going to move to more performance incentives anyways, the teacher unions should have just gone along with the Race to the Top Grant

  4. steven Says:

    Let this jerk leave the state now as he will not get any votes from anyone
    He is an arrogant BUTT hole like the rest of the politicians that are currently in office

  5. rick Says:

    stop blaming teachers for the failure of minority parents to parent their children. mom’s can not do it alone and teacher’s are not w/ the kid all the time. tie entitlements to individual student performance and shift the focus to the parents recieving the $$$$$$$$$.

  6. John Says:


  7. Rene Says:

    There are mandates that are connected to this money.
    -Teachers do not want to lose retirement money.
    -Teachers would like to see a reasonable pay. We do have
    college degrees that we spent money on. Many also have spent more money on Certification and other classes to help give us the skills to be great teachers. Do you realize that kids in classes could determine 50% of our paychecks if we agree to this?
    -Teachers would like to inspire and connect with our students instead of cramming FCAT style questiond down their throats.
    We are concerned for our profession and our children.

  8. Its Paula Dockery Says:

    It was McColldumb and Crist that brought all this on. Charlie with his tongue tangled on “I think” and “education” is a piece of crap. This is not the teachers fault! This is the fault of the political manipulators.
    Crist, McCollum stand up and take the dis-credit for you lack of taking care of the teachers and the fact you idiots only take care of your political future!

  9. Say Who Says:

    Bill McCollum is slipping up on 70 years old. Getting his congressional full retirement plus medical (he don’t have to suffer with Obamacare) Ad on his social security. If he serves just 6 years on the state salary he’ll get state retirement. Question is what in the heqq has he every done for any of us except harrass Bill Clinton for getting an unauthorized blow job? And while I am a life long republican Bill was not even the third worst president in our history starting with Obama, Jimmy Carter and maybe LBJ. (Long balls Johnson) the husband of Lady Bird and the father of Linda Bird. the media use to call the family; Linda bird, lady Bird and Old Bird Turd!

  10. Rebecca Says:

    So if you don’t get what you want, you find someone to blame. That’s a very grown-up attitude.

  11. Laura Butler Says:

    When the majority of teachers move out of the state for better pay and (more importantly) some respect, who will you be blaming then? Keep pushing us out, see what happens to the schools and the economy in the state. The states that won the Federal grant, won because they worked with the teachers and their unions. A concept that this state does not understand. I truly think it is politicians that need their pay based on accountability on their outcomes of the idiot laws they pass.

  12. Jane Says:

    I suppose McCollum & all the other politicians believe that if you keep throwing money at something everything will be all better.
    Not so! Palm Beach believes if you have fancy new school buildings, new furniture and have all the latest technology everything will be all better.
    Don’t blame the teachers. They aren’t the ones wasting the money.

  13. Mr Simon Calvert Says:

    SB6 is an awful bill and by not consulting with teachers and trying to sneak in his own political agendas Sen Thrasher and his supporters have ensured that we did not qualify for the RTTT cash. Now they think they can blame the unions/teachers and we will believe you? The winning states got union support and consulted the professionals who know how to teach kids. On top of that their mandates were funded past the initial injection of cash from Washington. Who does Sen Thrasher and his supporters think you are? I will be advocating and actively campaigning to vote everyone out in November who voted for such awful bill and ensured that our state did not win RTTT.

  14. edma Says:

    It is a shame that our state politicians, the ones we elected to represent us in our government, are only listening to their political aspirations, and not to the people who elected them. Teacher work very hard each day to provide our students with an education. But we can’t do it alone. Parents and students need to be held accountable for their own learning too. I think that when politicians sit down and listen to teachers input, then is when a truly education reform will take place. Politicians are not in a classroom dealing with all the elemenents that surround each student. Take time to listen to the ones who gave you your job, and who can keep you there, the teachers who are also state voters.

  15. Jennifer Oullis Says:

    Senator Thrasher has no idea how to reform public education in Florida. I am all for teachers being accountable for student growth, but there are too many variables in children to measure everyone exactly the same. We teach human beings, not cookie cut-outs. Maybe the republican congress should have invited Florida’s teacher to take a part in education reform and let our voices be heard. If they had done this in the first place, there may have been a different outcome.

  16. I teach kids you throw away. Says:

    Teacher and their unions at fault? How silly, but typical, to point the finger at us while avoiding the true issues. In taking an adverserial stance toward teachers these know-it-all politicians blew it. The states that won worked with their unions and teachers. They did not lambast them, undermine them and outright try to sabotage their profession. Better to learn from their mistakes and not follow in the footsteps of Michigan which passed a lot of unfunded laws in their grab for the money. Guess what? They lost out and are stuck holding the bag. The politicians of Florida failed by pushing SB6 and SB4. Why would any organization, including the Gates Foundation, give money to any entity that presents itself as fundamentally unsound?

  17. BP50CAL Says:

    Good old politicians. Politicians are a bunch of scam artists – always trying to screw someone to make a buck. It always boils down to money.

  18. An attorney Says:

    Correct me if I am wrong, but this headline is absolutely misleading; McCollum did not blame “teachers”, he blamed the Union; big difference.

  19. I love my students Says:

    We teach the students we are given. It is random, they might not have eaten breakfast, had a steady place to sleep, their family may need help with basic necessities. We take what we are given despite the education they received before us and are expected to have them perform at 100%. Business models to enhance production do not work when you are producing successful citizens. Stop tying my hands with needless red tape and let me teach.

  20. da_truth Says:

    Here’s a simple equation that even our mentally challenged state legislature could understand:

    GOP=FCRAP(oops, I mean FCAT)=FloriDUH

  21. Valerie Howard Says:

    McCollum blames teachers for the lost funds? Really? ‘m surprised he is so distraught over losing out on education money, since he has consistently voted against funding NCLB in Florida. Every year since I have been teaching he and the Republican-led legislature have CUT, CUT, CUT while raising accountability. Accountability is important, and teachers have been the reason there are gains in FCAT scores, even though these same gains aren’t showing up on college entrance exams-go figure. McCollum & Co. have lowered standards and tweaked data to make the data look as though they are doing something for students. Let me say this loud and clear, the teachers, and teachers alone, are making a difference. We could use a little respect for doing more with less. But the motive of those in favor of SB 6 is not to improve education. Their motive is money.

  22. Mike Says:

    The truth hurts sometimes. People are finally starting to figure out that the unions aren’t out to protect teachers.

  23. D. Fulcher Says:

    Well I have been following this race to the top and it seems that it reminds me of a “witch hunt” with the teachers being the witches. To all those who want to get rid of teachers take time out and think about the teacher that touched your life. Duh you politicians weren’t just born with sense and some of you still lack a little common sense. How about we tie you pay to the performance of the people you represent. Talk about a loud cry. You don’t have a problem with giving yourself raises and making sure that your retirement is safe and secure. If you want teacher to become teachers who teach the test then out the window goes art, music, pe, and all those other little programs that you guys have managed to sneak into classroom instruction. Oh, and by the way there is technology out there right now that will cause massive cheating….have you even thought about that. Pass SB6 and many honest teacher who teachers would be forced to do what ever is necessary to show classroom growth. By the way it may by already out there just not as widespread as it will become.

  24. david clark Says:

    This is a socially backwards state, still mired in the beliefs and tenets of the old south. People are poorly educated, and the politicians are as phoney and crooked as it gets. But you can’t beat the weather.

  25. peanut Says:

    Why did McCollum want government money anyway? This would give federal control to our schools. Or does he just waste our money fighting health care. The state bill is only an attack on teachers and local control (which I thought was a Republican principle)

  26. Just the facts Says:

    How come no one is asking democrat Ted Deutch about Obama’s Race To The Top? Does he or doesn’t he support this democrat endeavor?

    What about democrat Dave Aronberg does he support RTTT?

    What about Debbiew Wasserman-Schultz, Mark Pafford, Joe Abruzzo. They are all Obama supporters, democrats, are they going AGAINST their party or are they voting the party line.

    Let’s try to party line. Democrats support Obama. Ask Kendrick Meeks.

    All one reads about are the republicans for this, ask the democrats about Obama’s signature education piece: RACE TO THE TOP.

    Why one could even call the republicans bipartisan in this measure. THEY ARE SUPPORTING THE DEMOCRAT EDUCATION PLATFORM, they are not the party of NO!

    Look to democrats and ASK them! It won’t happen, the media focuses on republicans.

  27. Ana Says:

    It’s a shame that noone in Tallahassee is concerned about the students. Their only concern is MONEY!!! Why don’t you all think more about the lack of education the students are receiving if we have to just get them ready for a test, instead of only thinking about “funds” unless of course it’s your own pockets you are mostly concerned about.

  28. Rochelle Harrison Says:

    I don’t know how so many of our elected officials can sleep at night. This sham of a a bill(SB6) should be put to death. How can you blame the professionals that are working so hard to educate the leaders of tomorrow on a test, rather than the whole student. Everyone involved in that child’s life is accountable for their success. This in essence is killing public education! It seems to me that there is a huge disrespect for teachers!

  29. TK Sullivan Says:

    Isn’t it just like the federal government to make states COMPETE for this money instead of equitably distributing it to all states…and of course, our illustrious politicians blame teachers and teacher’s unions instead of realizing it is all a game designed to divide and conquer….

  30. Teacher in Jax Says:

    Alex Sink for governor!!

  31. Dana Says:

    FL SB 6 is nothing but a political platform–who doesn’t want better schools? But many factors are beyond a teacher’s control in student learning:
    lack of parenting or no parenting,
    child/parent on drugs,
    child/parent haven’t learned English,
    not doing homework (as practice to what they’ve been taught),
    students staying up all night on computers/video games/cell phones,
    learning disabled students who aren’t capable of making academic progress, etc.
    Without unions, teachers would have NOBODY protecting them. Bill McCollum & Charlie Crist, when are you going to hold yourselves accountable for addressing the Home issues listed above? Bill, you are close to getting your full congressional retirement, medical,& social security. You only had to serve just 6 years to get state retirement.

  32. Joe Says:

    It’s about time that someone finally has the guts to say it. The teachers union is all about the union, its contracts, work rules, and money and not about education. The state should just de-certify the union and hire only non-union teachers. Some way we have to quit being held hostage by this union and other public employee unions! We cannot afford their retirement programs, we cannot fire bad teachers, and we cannot even reward the good ones because of their egalitarian attitudes.

  33. Shelley Thompson Says:

    Washington wants innovative ideas for classrooms. It/They need to be able to prove scientifically that these measures had a positive outcome for students in public school classrooms. Okay, we give them what they want while providing students what they need. Establish control groups where one school district provides one or more of the arts as part of the curriculum vs. none. Proven results! Why are we not learning from experiences of our past? This is very frustrating for all who have watched the demise of our educational system.

  34. Roxanne Tew Says:

    I have taught for 30 years, 22 in Florida. I think of all the extra hours and money from my pocket I’ve spent over the years. I’m here to say today that it is coming to an end. The Florida Government doesn’t respect the work I’ve done, so from here on I work just my required hours and don’t spend a penny of my own money! And, BTW, who are these nitwits putting down the union. I want you to know that my union dues have protected your job so far. I think everyone who doesn’t belong to the union should not get the raises they have negotiated for us or the no-duty lunch, or the other things they’ve won for us.

  35. John Says:

    McCollum is pushing a hard-right agenda- using taxpayer money to mount a doomed attack on health care reform and attacking teachers and their unions for missing out on the first round of RTTT when in fact this screw-up was a result of Education Commissioner Eric Smith’s intransigence, shutting out the union and coming up with an unworkable plan, then expecting unions to sign on.

    McCollum’s hard-right agenda is exactly why I will be voting for Alex Sink for governor.

  36. Scarlett Griffin Says:

    Bill McCollum (and Semator Thrasher) are blaming teachers for Florida not receiving funding from Race to the Top. Hummmm? Wasn’t it the same Bill McCollum who is suing the federal government’s new health care plan? I wonder why Florida was REALLY denied the grant? Got to blame somebody and since McCollum cannot blame his own actions, why not put it on the teachers. Thanks, Mr. McCollum. I am a Republican and a teacher who will be voting for Alex Sink.

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