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Senate does away with teacher tenure after angry debate

by Dara Kam | March 24th, 2010

The Senate passed a measure that would have a far-reaching impact on teachers’ salaries and job security after a heated debate by Democratic opponents and an angry defense of the bill by Republicans.

Four Republicans – Sens. Charlie Dean of Inverness, Paula Dockery of Lakeland, Dennis Jones of Seminole and Alex Villalobos of Miami – joined Democrats on the losing side of the 21-17 vote.

Sen. Joe Negron, whose father and grandmother were teachers, accused the teachers’ union of fear-mongering about what the bill does to gin up opposition to the proposal.

The education personnel measure (SB 6) would give $900 million to school districts that adopt merit pay plans for teachers based heavily on how well their students do on standardized tests that have yet to be created.

Teachers would also be put on one-year contracts and student performance on the exams would be a part of educators’ certification.

Negron said he’s received thousands of e-mails and at least 400 phone calls about the proposal, many from teachers in his district who had been told their salaries would be cut in half if the bill passes.

“What a cynical ploy by the opponents of the bill…to tell teachers we’re going to cut their pay. It’s not true. It’s never been true. We’re not going to pay you less. We’re going to respect you and pay you more when you do your job better,” an irate Negron, R- Stuart, lectured his colleagues.

But Sen. Frederica Wilson, a former teacher who works for the Miami-Dade County School Board, railed against the bill, saying that it would force teachers to pick-and-choose and wind up short-changing students from less affluent schools whose test scores are lower.

“They will say, ‘Don’t give me Gary Siplin because Gary Siplin is a slow learner. Give me Alex Diaz de la Portilla.’ There will be fights,” Wilson, D-Miami said. Sen. Gary Siplin is a black Democrat from Orlando; Diaz de la Portilla is the Senate Republican Leader from Miami. “This is not good. This is not good legislation.”

Sen. Ted Deutch joined the chorus of Democrats who bashed the bill, saying it would demonize teachers.

“There are bad teachers. This legislation seems to be legislation by anecdote. We’ve heard time and time again, ‘I know of a teacher who sleeps through class. I know of a bad teacher who mails it in every week,’” Deutch, a Boca Raton Democrat who is running for Congress. “Let’s be clear about one thing. Testing is not teaching. And when we base this legislation on a whole batter of new tests that don’t now exist…We are taking a step that won’t just demonize all teachers but that fails to respect the job that the overwhelming majority of teachers in this state do.”

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64 Responses to “Senate does away with teacher tenure after angry debate”

  1. Bob Says:

    This is communism! A state can dictate contracts?!?!!! Will the state set salaries?

    Communists at the State level.


  2. Thomas Paine Says:

    If the teachers’ union had been concerned for decades about working conditions for us good teachers and education, and less about protecting the job of crappy teachers…we wouldn’t have needed this bill.

    Instead we now have a bill like this that won’t stop crappy teachers (like cockroaches they always seem to survive), and will only serve to piss-off us good teachers!

  3. Chas Says:

    As a former “teacher/instructor” in both a Jr.High and a community college. If pay is to be related to preformance and such than the item of class room control MUST be in place.Slow learners vs fast learner must be adjusted so that both are satisfied about 50% of the time. IF THIS IS POSSIBLE.

  4. skeptic Says:

    teachers should vote in a bloc against all republicans candidates running for election this november, no tenure should be your rallying cry

  5. Senate Bill 6 does passes after angry debate | Extra Credit Says:

    [...] For the rest of the story go here. [...]

  6. Penrose LaMont Says:

    Thank God for Sarah, Rush and Sean. They provide the leadership we need to get this country back to the constitutional democracy we once were.

    Teachers are liberal-mongers and need to be replaced by conserative leaning educators.

    This is step one in the revolution. Tea party will they way!

  7. Karla Says:

    I am a teacher who is mystified how the same idiots the could vote against socialized medicine now vote for this government controlled senate bill. You cannot compare a low-income Title one school with an enormous population of students who do not speak English and who just arrived with no formal education at all to a school with a higher average SES, an even mix of races, and with parental support. You want to base my pay on the students in the first example? I will take my higly qualified self to a private school first.

  8. Geez Says:

    Good Golly, Skeptic! I don’t remember the Reps sending out a battle cry to “vote in a bloc against all Dems who voted against Health Care…”
    Remember, teacher, “Don’t punish the whole class for the actions of a few.”

  9. Ben Champion Says:

    Why don’t the Senators and Congressmen and all non essential staff state wide take a 10% pay cut to save the essential workers like Police, Fire, EMT, Teachers.

    And I do think it is Illegal to mess with the Retirement of others. Again they should take it from their own staff and themself’s first then all local politions and staff and their noessential workers.

  10. Me Says:

    So here’s a interesting concept – why not let principals evaluate teachers much the way managers do in a private enterprise. They know the subjective nature of the socioeconomic challenges of the classes and schools, know the teachers doing the work, and can add that subjectivity to merit (or not) increases, and the principals have to be accountable to the school board for their decisions. We’ve proven you can’t cookie cutter this, and it stops them from worrying so much about teaching how to take tests and actually whether the kids are learning… Manage it like any other company does who rewards for performance…

  11. Steve in WPB Says:

    For those teachers who vote republicon….this is what you get!!!

  12. AEH Says:

    Pay for performance is a great idea. Maybe it will motivate teachers more. The only problem is implementation. Slow learners vs fast learners, good schools vs bad schools. Measures can’t be based solely on test scores. Need other measures. Not sure what they would be though.

  13. Louie Says:

    Gee, I don’t want to vote for Repubs or Dems anymore.
    What does one do ?

  14. Disgusted Says:

    It’s a shame Lenin and Stalin didn’t live to see the day. Congratulations to the State Senate on beginning the dismantling of the public education system. Soon, the have’s will graduate from high school and the have not’s…well, high school was wasted on them anyway!

  15. George Says:

    “What a cynical ploy by the opponents of the bill…to tell teachers we’re going to cut their pay. It’s not true. It’s never been true. We’re not going to pay you less.”
    Except that teachers who have worked hard to earn advanced degrees (Masters, NBCT, etc) will no longer recieve payment for improving their techniques!!

  16. Me Says:

    They would with a system like in business. Their manager, the principal would reward for earning certs and advanced degrees, and arbitrate across a 50% gain with a slow learner vs a 15% gain for a fast learner. If the slow learner was 60′s, and is now getting 90′s, and the fast learner was getting 80′s and now getting 92′s, even tho the fast learner is getting higher grades, the teacher who got the slower student a 50% improvement gets a bigger reward rather than just give it to the ones who’s kids get the higher grades. THIS is how you add subjectivity to it.

  17. Republicans are the modern day Klan Says:

    Republicans don’t send their children to public schools or the military. So why do they even care. What about the low income areas. This will only make them get worse. Nobody will want to teach in these schools. So what will happen? It will all be first year teachers and the low income areas will get screwed as always. This is some racist stuff. Republicans don’t care for minorities. This is wrong on so many levels. Makes me ashamed to be American. This will solve nothing. Schools are a reflection of society and until the crime decreases, school will reflect bad scores.

  18. goodbye florida Says:

    I have the feeling that if this passes and the Governor signs it, there will be a mass exodus of teachers from this state. Unfortunately that is what it seems the Republican leaders want. Studies have proven that those with more education tend to vote Democrat. Perhaps there’s a correlation there.

  19. RMx Says:

    I agree with ACCOUNTABILITY running both ways, and that’s why any legislator who seriously proposes is being intellectually dishonest or too naive to hold public office. Fair and equitable merit pay would cost the taxpayer FAR MORE than the most generous system of compensation. The problem people have with executive salaries is that rewards are being doled out for misfeasance or worse, malfeasance.

    Some suggestions from “AuntPru” related to this topic:
    Don’t blame teachers for the way students speak. Blame administrators for the lack of discipline and the failure to insist teachers stress language and writing skills.
    Schools are wasting resources catering to ESOL students while neglecting the needs of the more “traditonal” students; that’s NOT what the lawsuit and ESOL statute intended.
    Stream the students who do not want to be educated to a trade school where they can learn a skill that will make them employable.
    Boot the disruptive students out and allow the serious ones to get on with it.
    And finally, teach geography instead of Shakespeare. What good is it for a student to be able to quote passages from Twelth Night if s/he can’t find China or even California on the map?
    Finally, spend less time being politically correct and get on with the job of teaching.

  20. HS Says:

    To report that districts who agree to this rediculous measure will receive $900 million in funding is FALSE. The state is ATTEMPTING to receive that money from the Feds; but there is NOTHING in the Race to the Top bill that binds them to providing ANY money to Florida schools.

  21. s calvert Says:

    geez says :Remember, teacher, “Don’t punish the whole class for the actions of a few.”

    What like the senate is doing to all teachers because of a few bad apples. This legislation is going to be disastrous for our state and anyone who cannot see that is a moron.

  22. Cannot Wait to Leave Says:

    Perhaps this is the REpublican way to help save money for their districts – force out good teachers so as to hire fresh graduates thankful to have any job and willing to work for much less. Dumb people are sure to result and this means the ideal voting base for Republicans.

    Its articles like this that make me feel so much better to have a signed contract with a private school in another country that pays more, provides a better student body, and also caps the numbre of students per class. Florida is overrated and it won’t be missed.

  23. LOL! Says:

    Karla, if you think what these idiots voting against was “socialized medicine” then I surely hope you are not a history or social studies teacher.

  24. Brian Says:

    To George at 12:52

    That’s the point. Instead of being paid more for merely possessing advanced qualifications you’ll now be paid for generating superior results using those skills. So you’ll still have the opportunity to be compensated for your advanced degrees, certifications etc.

  25. Disgusted Says:

    To Brian, you don’t get it. Those with advanced degrees will have it easier getting superior results. They’ll stop teaching at te schools with the greatest need. They’ll use their advanced degree to get to the better schools and leave the under-achievers behind. Anyone who thinks is good is not rooted in reality.

  26. Reform Needed but.... Says:

    My husband is an educator within the largest school district in the state. He has taught in both the private and public arenas. While he enjoys teaching, he is frustrated with the “teach to take a test” method forced down public educators’ throats day-in and day-out. Gone are the days in which a language arts teacher instructs on subject verb conjugation, prepositions, grammar and syntax. Focus has shifted from grammar to writing. But one must have skills in grammar, spelling and vocabulary in order to succeed at this task. How do we expect our teachers to teach if the grammar books aren’t allowed to be used until the 4th quarter of the year – even then, it’s “too late.” It is never too late to start teaching. Teaching is building a foundation upon which one can be tested.

    I fully believe that our teachers should be held accountable but it is difficult to accurately test an instructor on a faulty foundation. Can one accurately hold accountable a teacher for the faults of someone else. Additionally, how much input can a teacher have on a child if a parent doesn’t work in harmony with the educators in an effort to see their child(ren) succeed. Parents fail our youth just as much as the indolent teacher. What happened to making sure a child studied at home, completed homework and turned it in by the due date.

    Come on people, it’s a team effort here.

  27. ESE Teacher Says:

    I don’t trust republicans or democrats one bit, and this is another example of how party politics can screw us all. This bill sounds great on paper, and might make the less informed say “Hey, I think teachers should be paid for results…” However the reality is that all teachers do not have the same access to the same cream of the crop students. Also some of us teach ESE students who can’t hold a fork or go to the bathroom without assistance. What to do about all that? Do we get paid the same for all time with no chance at advancement? This bill is as disastrous to Florida as the health care bill will be to the nation. There a republican idea and a democratic idea full of flaws and only out to help the few and cut off the majority.
    The teaching profession just took a major step backward, and just wait a few years until the “busing” issue crops back up.
    To think I went into teaching to help kids, and now the system I am supposed to support is discarding them.

  28. ScottM Says:

    Leaving the profession…sadly

  29. frances snoot Says:

    It’s fascism; Bill Gates is doing the dictating from behind the wheel of his Foundation for Education which is offering the Race to the Top grant money. Thrasher admitted the bill was to get the dough. Gates has his own charter school waiting in the wings: KIPP schools. The teachers were sacrificed for monetary gain. It’s that simple.

  30. Thomas Paine Says:

    There is a lot of stupidity being pushed in these comments.

    Last time I checked, the President is a Democrat and this is all part of his proposed changes to NCLB that he announced. This is pay-for-performance, removing (firing) teachers from under-performing schools, government control of the schools.

    This is the state of Florida following the Democratic lead. What is funny is the unions will continue to push voting Democratic when this is Obama’s agenda. And now the Florida Republicans are following it and they get bashed. Guess what…neither party gives a crap about education…they pay it lip-service. Somehow parental responsibility is removed from the equation as well.

    As for the moron named “Republicans are the modern day Klan”, the military is overly Republican. Also, the low performing schools already have the first year teachers in greater numbers. Because they tend to be “tougher” schools, so once you get a few years in, you try to transfer to better schools…and then you STAY THERE.

    Try spending a day in public school before you speak!

  31. Disgusted Says:

    I teach at a Title 1 high school. I have an advanced degree. I’m not new, I’ve got 15 years in. I like the school I teach at and the kids I teach. Life could be easier elsewhere, but I don’t want to leave. Unfortunately, if this is adopted, I will be leaving. I’m a teacher, not a saint or a volunteer. If staying with the kids who need me is going to cost me money, I’ve got to go. My first loyalty has got to go to the two kids who share my address.

  32. Chrs Says:

    So, what happens to Special education teachers who teach all slow learners and whose students always score low because they have a disability?
    I guess they will all be fired! The problem with government is they are not educators. I would be surprised if the Director of the Dept. of Ed has ever spent a day teaching in a classroom just like most of the administrators. It’s a lot like war, the plans are made way a head of time and from a safe place. Then when the plans get to the front lines they do now work and everyone wonders why we are not winning. Too many people saying this is how it should be with out the knowledge of how it really is.

  33. Chuck Says:

    #6 Penrose Lamonte, You should have spent more time with your “liberal-monger” English teacher, you may have learned how to spell.

    Teachers are to be praised for trying to teach people like you.

    Florida House say no to SB6.

  34. W. Padron Says:

    Oh, Okay, so the “BAD” Teachers will not cheat on these NEW ASSESSMENTS? And TELL THEIR STUDENTS THE ANSWERS! So THEY CAN KEEP Their Certifications!?!?! AND MAKE MORE MONEY$$$$$ Let’s be real here. The good will be sunk the bad will continue to rise to the top because they have the immorality already inbedded in them. The GOOD do not dare cheat the system–they will be honest and real. THE BAD TEACHERS will SUDDENLY be OUR BEST TEACHERS. OH MY My!!! How our system CONTINUES TO FAIL US OVER THE PAST YEARS!!! Let’s get it right, America…NO MORE TESTS!!!!! There are so many other ways to evaluate our children and our teachers…this is NOT it. It’s not a matter of pass or fail–it’s a matter on stengths and weaknesses and working to set goals for ourselves…this is the way of America.

  35. Common Sense Says:

    The key to improving student learning is enhancing the skills and knowledge of teachers. Advanced degrees give teachers the opportunity to enhance their skills and increases student achievement. Teachers deserve to be treated as professionals who are rewarded for becoming more proficient.

  36. Drea Says:

    Republicans are angry, hateful people who want to take away a benefit they can never have. They can’t get tenure in their positions, so why should left-leaning teachers receive it? Although, I understand why university professors require tenure due to any potential political implications of their independent research and theories, why do secondary school teachers need it???

  37. Tweets that mention Senate does away with teacher tenure after angry debate | Post on Politics -- Says:

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by,, Amy Tidd, Greg Engleberg, PBPost school news and others. PBPost school news said: Senate Bill 6 passed the Senate today after angry debate. [...]

  38. 6th grd teacher Says:

    Unfortunately secondary teachers need tenure because like with most professions the hiring and firing of the teachers is done by politically minded people. I know how hard it was for both my husband and I to get a job teaching out of school because we did not have connections with the higher ups. I fortunately found a place that does value experience and passion more than family ties. But my husband did loose out on a coaching position because he was not “from these parts.” As measured by tangible things such as previous wining averages, Coach of the Year awards, and completing at the state champoinship with a smaller school, my husband was far more qualified than the buddy of the athletic director who also happened to play for him x number of years ago. This is not the only example of people using their positions to get their friends and relatives jobs even at the expense of qualifications. Everyone in the teaching business is not honest and will quickly skew a situation to their benefit.

  39. Broward Democrat Says:

    We already force teachers to teach to the test with FCAT’s, now they will have to do so even more (or risk losing their livelihood). Unhappy teachers and uneducated students, sure, that’s what we need!!

  40. Former teacher, soon to be drill sergeant Says:

    I promise you this: now that MY salary is tied to student performance on standardized tests, I will DRILL and DRILL and DRILL to the test DAY after DAY after DAY. Hope you’re all prepared for that. I have to provide for MY own children before I’m going to give a damn about yours.

  41. gator Says:


  42. Jen, just trying to teach! Says:

    This is all really sad and a sign of things to come. I really noticed how wrong things had become the other day when I let my 4th grade students color. It was like a special treat. They also stress about FCAT and hold a lot of responsibility on their shoulders. What kind of anxious adults are we raising? What happened to a carefree childhood? And who took the fun out of teaching? I can do my job and teach students to be well-rounded. But now the legislature wants to dictate my every movement and penalize me when their “formula” for success doesn’t work out for every child. It’s extremely disheartening.

  43. Lee County Teacher Says:

    And here is the expert teacher advice and consultation they apparently had on this bill:

    Sen. John Thrasher, R-St. Augustine, who wrote the bill, ended the discussion by bringing up his daughter, who was a teacher before she became a stay-at-home mom.

    “She’s told me that she’s not fearful of this bill … because she thinks when the bill passes it’s going to inspire teachers,” Thrasher said.

    So, why aren’t all of you teachers inspired????!!

  44. wantsaccountability Says:

    Joe Negron might want all of you to think that he is doing good teachers a favor. My students score at the top of the heap, but I know how the State of Florida works. This isn’t about merit pay. It’s about driving experienced teachers out and replacing them with cheap help. I will be retiring before this becomes effective, but my granddaughter will just be starting school. Shame on every senator that voted for this!!

  45. Maria Elena Gyory Says:

    Bill 6 is a disgrace for Public Education.!
    This Bill would be fair if teachers could be in control of all the factors that affect learning. Teachers cannot take away the drugs or the violence, create children that are free of psychological, emotional, or special academic needs, force parents to help their children at home, turn off their TV sets and their video games, or make students come to school everyday. We can buy students’ supplies, but we cannot feed their hungry stomachs. It is not our fault that we live in a generation where teachers cannot discipline their students, and students are no longer accountable for their actions. We need to remind our Legislators in Tallahassee, that there are other aspects that influence how our children learn, and that teachers are just one part of it.

  46. Susanna...Title1 Teach Says:

    In how many professions are employees dismissed without cause or reason? How does one test on one day, demonstrate what a child has learned? If parents are not accountable for even getting their children to school, how can teachers begin to teach them? Who will be willing to take my place at a Title 1 school, filled with very needy, struggling to survive, students and families, if this bill passes? And…who would ever want to become an educator in the state of Florida?

  47. N Adams Says:

    Why doesn’t my Masters degree in Education count anymore. It definitely has made me a better and more thoughtful teacher. MBA’s in the corporate world earn more than people with undergraduate business degrees. I worked at a very large bank and they wouldn’t even hire people without advanced degrees.

  48. so what Says:

    Should cops be subject to the same standards based on the number of speeders that don’t get stopped or accidents that occur? I think not.

    And basing this on yet to be announced standardized testing, is the legislature finally admitting that their precious FCAT is a phenominal flop? Still waiting on that particular addmission of error.

  49. Cheryl Brown Says:

    There is no such thing as tenure in the state of Florida. It is a right to work state that only allows for due process.

  50. Tweets that mention Senate does away with teacher tenure after angry debate | Post on Politics -- Says:

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Lauren Fant, Concerned Parent. Concerned Parent said: Florida Senate Bill 6 passes 21-17. Unbelievable. Goodbye to any chance of quality education here! FAIL. [...]

  51. N Millner Says:

    Florida is the Scumbag state, this is evident,blame teachers for lack of funds and “community,”in the schools.The average person in FL,is unaware the bad communities stuck by the tracks, are left there by the\ state on purpose,in order to keep them down-troden and easy to pick up when their BS fines the FL system keeps its poor locked into.
    The average Old person doesn’t realize what they save on tax they lose on PUBLIC SaFtY. The GAP between rch and POOR is so wide and deep/very little middle.
    Charlie Crist fits the Scumbag state, do nothing big headed aristocrat! Does he know his—-from a hole in the yard? Doubt it. Corruption and FL>match in heaven.

  52. N Millner Says:

    They know you have no where to go! Welcome to the Sunshine State!

  53. Debra Vance Noelk Says:

    This is a copy of email I sent to Senator Thrasher.

    Senator Thrasher,
    You said your wife was a teacher and “thinks this bill will inspire teachers”.
    How many years did your wife DEVOTE to her career in education?
    How many mornings did she get up at 4 am to meet a group of students to go on a field trip?
    How many children did she take shopping (and spend her OWN money) because that child’s mother had died or needed support?
    How many classes beyond her bachelor’s did she take – meaning additional time of study and away from her own personal hobbies and interests?
    How many weekends has she given up to devote to professional development or to support student events?
    How many evenings did your wife spend contacting parents and organizing events for students?

    I – and THOUSANDS of Florida teachers like me – have devoted their lives to education. We have gone BEYOND teaching for “The Test” because we CARE about the students we teach – the human beings whose lives we touch on a daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly basis. We want EACH child who crosses the threshold of our doors to be successful human beings not just good at taking a test.

    Senate Bill 6 is a slap in the face – a disgusting show of political power that lacks foresight or forethought. Yes, it will inspire the effective teachers – it will inspire them to leave Florida’s Public Educational System. This bill will do nothing to improve the educational system in Florida but will drag it down.

    I challenge you to talk to effective teachers – to look them in the face and tell them they don’t deserve job security, tell them their pay should rely solely on the subjective view of one person (The one person who already has the power provided in state statutes to fire ineffective teachers) and tests that haven’t even been written yet.

    This bill needs to be rescinded NOW.

    A proud, devoted, and effective educator,
    Debra Vance Noelk

    So much of what is best in us is bound up in our love of family, that it remains the measure of our stability because it measures our sense of loyalty. All other pacts of love or fear derive from it and are modeled upon it. – Haniel Long

  54. NJCathie Says:

    To my Florida brethren I say BRAVO for throwing down the first gauntlet in the fight against the unions. We in New Jersey are getting ready for our own battle against the strongest union in our state – the teachers unions.

    I believe tenure is wrong and sends the wrong message to a working group of people – just work a few years and you’re locked in for life! Working a civil job never has this guarantee…so why should teachers?

    Our teachers in New Jersey have a perk that grinds me raw – they can accumulate unused sick days!! A majority of them retire with a check for easily over $100k and many over $200K. Sick day were created to help people not be penalized when they are sick……When did it become a perk!!

    Again I say bravo Florida for taking this step to take back your state.

  55. Ivonne Says:

    Maybe they should be paid according to how much their laws are respected, how much the penal community decreases, etc.Let’s see how they like that. They are all a bunch of careless people who know nothing about education. They shoud go in a classroom for a whole month to see what reality looks like. I know who I will not vote for, ever! See you at election!

  56. michaelrcaputo Says:

    Wilkinson: “Florida Tea Party cannot support a pro-union candidate for Governor”

    (MIAMI, FL) – In the wake of the Florida Senate vote to end teacher tenure, the leader of the Florida Tea Party critisized gubernatorial hopeful Paula Dockery’s choice to “join the ranks of liberal Democrats once again in support of the teachers union.”

    “Sen. Paula Dockery carried the teachers unions’ water once again and opposed a Republican bill effectively ending the tenure system that rewards bad teachers,” Florida Tea Party leader Everett Wilkinson said. “Dockery chose to join the ranks of liberal Democrats once again in support of the teachers union and voted against merit pay for teachers in our failing school system. Dockery chose unions over our children, and the Florida Tea Party cannot support a pro-union candidate for Governor.”

    Dockery has run afoul of the Florida Tea Party since her supporters – none of whom are Tea Party activists – registered a Tea Party political party in Florida. Already, the fake Tea Party has launched a third party candidate into the race against Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL), splitting the GOP vote to virtually assure re-election of the liberal Democrat in a moderate congressional district.

    Both Dockery and Grayson are allies of the fake Tea Party political party co-founder Doug Guetzloe, a brokered radio show host in Orlando who was thrown out of the Republican Party and was recently sentenced to 60 days in jail for violating Florida election law.

  57. Diane Says:

    Next will there be a bill to base policemen’s pay on the crime rates in their areas of town? So let’s see…the cop in the affluent area of town gets big raises while the cop who works in the ghetto gets a pay cut? If crime rates go up in his area, he gets fired. Sounds fair to me! (Sarcasm intended!)

  58. Keats' Says:

    I’m a current law student and former high school teacher. I just read HB 7189 and would like to share some lesser known (but very dangerous) aspects of the bill.
    Little Known Aspects of HB 7189
    -Won’t be able to attract teachers from other states because they will have the starting pay of a brand new teacher. Teachers from other states will be labeled “beginning teacher” and will get the same starting pay grade as brand new teachers. Imagine telling a 20 year veteran teacher from New York that her starting salary is $32,000! This will only exacerbate the problem of finding good teachers. Additionally, teachers from other states won’t want to move here because of the other general provisions of this bill.
    -Restricts the teachers who can teach reading math, science and other critical shortage areas. Must be certified in the area, and cannot even teach out of field temporarily while getting certification in an area. While this *might* be a good idea in math or science, it will make it even more difficult to have enough reading teachers. For example, a principal can no longer assign a English teacher to teach reading , even temporarily, while getting a teacher is getting the additional reading certification.
    -Teacher cannot be rehired if students don’t make gains in only 2 of 5 years! If, for some reason a teacher’s student don’t do well enough on a standardized test, the teacher cannot be rehired, no matter how good of a teacher he/she may be. We will lose some good teachers over this. This will make good teachers much less likely to teach high risk students.
    -Makes it harder to get rid of bad teachers in first three years. The bill grants tenure protection to all new teachers, meaning that all new teachers may only be removed for “just cause” – which is really hard to do (gross incompetence, felonies, etc.)
    -Reduced incentives for administrators. ALL administrators and non-instructional teachers will have 50% of their pay determined by others, the AVERAGE gains of the entire school! This also goes against the entire concept of incentives. What incentive does a non-instructional teacher have to do better, when his pay is affected by how well *OTHER* students do in *OTHER* classrooms do on average!
    -Bill contradicts itself on National Board Certification. In one area of the bill it requires that school cannot consider National Board Certification in teacher pay, but then also leaves intact the Dale Hickam Excellent Teaching Program, which gives teachers a 10% bonus for completing National Board Certification. This bill is poorly drafted and poorly thought out.
    -Schools are forbidden from financially recognizing a teacher of the year! We’ve heard a lot about how teachers cannot be recognized for years of service, National Board Certification or graduate degrees. Additionally, school boards are expressly forbidden from providing incentive pay to state or local teachers of the year! Talk about perverse incentives!
    -Teacher retention must be based on standardized testing. If school boards have to cut back on teachers, (as many have had to do because of budget cuts) the board must base their decisions primarily on standardized tests scores. Of course, seniority is out the window, but note something even more pernicious–the school board has to ignore its own need for teachers in certain subject areas in the face of standardized test scores. For example, what if a school board has to let go of 10% of its teachers. Let’s say that students in math, ESOL or reading on average make less gains per year. Well, then the school board would be forced to let go all the teachers in that critical need subject area who are performing less on standardized tests, while other subject areas have a relevant surplus of teachers. This is just plain bad policy.

  59. RMx Says:

    @Keats: Really nice job analyzing this proposed legislation. HoR would be well advised to do a similar, in-depth analysis. I’m still “new” to this State, but I just can’t imagine that legislation like this could ever be proposed, let alone passed. As “moderate” as Crist claims to be, (or is said to be by his further-right opponent), students here in Florida are in BIG trouble if a moderate like Crist is all we have to hang our hats on. How do these bills, or their proponents, affect the perpetual drive for a voucher-run educational system in the State? Would the proponents of these bills withdraw the bills if vouchers were approved? I’m just trying to understand what the nexus is between this leg. and the conservative right’s long-standing attempts to publicly fund private/parochial schools.

  60. RMx Says:

    @NJCathie: Your misguided analysis didn’t have to be. Accumulated sick pay works like a bonus in the corporate world. When corporate employees dedicate themselves and perform ABOVE AND BEYOND the requirements in their job description, they get bonuses. Teachers are entitled to a similar bonus whether it’s annually or at retirement (without interest, BTW). The reason NJ education system is all screwed up is because of what Whitman/Republican-controlled state government did: shift the financial responsibility of education to the less powerful county and local governments. That was devious of them, but NJ citizens were duped by their gullibility and greed. Unions are the whipping boy for oh-so-many intellectually lazy people. Talk about cutting off your nose to spite your face. Unions are the ONLY chance employees have to be able to negotiate pay with their employers…usually. The few examples to the contrary are too few and too far between. Until and unless we begin to love our children, REALLY LOVE THEM, not just pay lip service to that idea, this ridiculous conversation will continue.

  61. Elizabeth Lauscher Says:

    Deminish the role of a teacher, ahhhhhh… who will educate the next senator? statesman? firefighter? policeman?

    Speaking of firefighters and police officers… cut their pay and benefits, why be the person who put his/her life on the line for YOU?

    Pension plans are NOT for sale. Don’t mess with our retirement.

    Going back to teachers … when is the last time YOU were in a public school and had to deal with kids who had NO ethics/morals and YOU had to smile the entire class period while maintaining order in the classroom AND teaching a new concept? Have you seen kids take tests? There are some kids who are done within 15 minutes of the test …. they don’t care … and the powers that be think that teachers should be paid based on the child’s test score? Also, REMEMBER, not all people are good test takers. Some people are “smart as a whip:” but freeze when it comes to test taking.

    ALL of the legislators should be SUBSTITUTE teachers in a public school (one that has been awarded a grade of C, D or F) for a week or more AND without special attention made to the status and see what it is like … maybe then YOU the LAWMAKERS/BREAKERS would see what reality is.

    As is right now, with what Florida is saying, who would want to spend the dollars in teacher education classes. Who would want to teach in a Florida public school? OR is Florida trying to say no more public school, only private education …. OR are you all saying that the schools that award teaching certificates are not doing their job? Unless YOU have been a teacher, YOU canNOT say anything about the profession.

  62. Keats' Handwriting Says:

    Good comments elizabeth.

    I saw an article where it was suggested that we should pay legislators based upon the unemployment rate. What’s good for the geese is good for the gander, no?

  63. m. Says:

    It cannot be up to the teachers for their students to do well, some students just do not put in the effort to work hard. It is not necessarily teachers not doing their jobs well but sometimes student performances are not good. I think there has been a lot of blame put on the teachers for the quality of education. For the most part, standardized test can be bogus. Many students have different learning styles; standardized tests do nothing to actually test how well students know the material. I agree that there are some bad teachers but the SB 6 is not going to help keep the select few teachers who are doing their jobs well.

  64. JLB Says:

    I am a “special Ares” teacher in Miami- Dade County, I have been for 5 years. Unfortunately, due to excessive budget cuts and the rise of “Charter Schools” (Also called embezelment pits around here) I am still an “Annual Contract” teacher. With this new bill, my status is unlikely to change and I will probably be going back into my old career, because unfortunately it is more stable.

    (Side Note: Teachers helping to pay the taxes that pay for the Vouchers for every child enrolled in a Charter School. For every Child enrolled in said Charter School, the school they left looses that childs budget money which results in a deficit of supplies and workforce.)

    Lets look back a bit to see what we are really dealing with here. In the 80′s a Republican lead house abolished
    “Coporal Punishment” in class rooms. I was in the first generation of kids to experience this. What they did was give students a weapon they could use against the teachers. My kids can’t spell their names but the sure do know the term “Law Suit”.

    After this, they decided it would be a GREAT idea to let Florida’s Gambling Community who give money to the Florida Lottery pay for our children’s educations. This was supposed to help with the education budget, but ended up replacing it.

    Then the Republican lead house and senate decided Standardized testing was the way to go. This put an enormous weight on the teachers, not just the primary and critical subject teachers, but ALL teachers like myself, who works in Title 1 Schools, who are given extra assignments including intervention teaching and tutoring to help these kids, who already don’t care, to pass a test they don’t want to take, so we can get our budget money for the next year. It was also publicized how many Republicans who had ties in the testing industries (Companies who develope our beloved FCAT and other standardized tests) profited from this great idea.

    Next up was one of the latest brain storms, IPEGS, a system which forces every teacher to complete a set of standards very simular to a Masters Portfolio, on a yearly basis, to prove that we are doing our Jobs along side of teaching FCAT, and taking Professional Developement courses along side our classes for advanced degrees ( Which by the way is mandatory for re-certification) which will count for nothing under SB6 and House Bill 7189.

    So here we are now, Children who are in control, laws protecting them no matter what they do in the class room, no funds for much needed supplies, and teachers who are holding on by threads trying to accomidate Sunshine State Standards, Scheduled lessons, Bench Marks, IPEGS, and the FCAT.

    Now we come to SB 6 and House Bill 7189: I’m not going to go into what a horrific idea this is. My colleagues in this forum and several other blogs stae wide have done a stupendous job in iterating the

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