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‘Sucker-punch to the gut’ of teachers or visionary reform? Crist has seven days to pick a side on teacher tenure

by Dara Kam | April 9th, 2010

Gov. Charlie Crist has a week to decide if the controversial teacher merit pay bill is a “sucker-punch to the gut of the teaching profession” or a visionary reform now that SB 6 has reached his desk.

The “teacher tenure” bill poses a conundrum for the U.S. Senate candidate framed in the old Pete Seeger union song, Which Side Are You On?

The self-described “People’s Governor” is facing mounting pressure from fellow Republicans to sign SB 6 into law and from Democrats demanding that he kill the bill.

Crist originally said he thought the merit-pay proposal was a good idea. But after tens of thousands of teachers, parents and students inundated lawmakers’ offices and his own with phone calls and e-mails blasting the plan, his enthusiasm may be waning.

“The more you listen, the more you learn,” Crist told reporters Thursday morning. “There are things I like and things that give me some concern,” in the bill. “I’m listening to the people of Florida — my boss.”

After the House passed the bill at 2:30 this morning, Speaker Larry Cretul urged the governor to keep his word.

“I believe we have passed legislation this morning that is important,” Cretul, R-Ocala, said. “It is legislation I believe the governor should want to sign. I take him at his word that he will.”

But even before the measure reached Crist’s desk shortly after noon today, Democrats ramped up demands that Crist to put his red pen to use.

Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, a Democrat running to replace Crist, called on the governor to “stand with the people of Florida against this attempt by Tallahassee politicians to take control away from our local schools.”

Her campaign this morning launched an online petition for Floridians to sign to request the veto.

Senate Democratic Leader Al Lawson said in a statement “our governor needs to stand his ground” and veto the bill Lawson called a “sucker-punch to the gut of the teaching profession.”

Read the full story here.

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3 Responses to “‘Sucker-punch to the gut’ of teachers or visionary reform? Crist has seven days to pick a side on teacher tenure”

  1. adam Says:

    I have seen many people compare teachers to employers and students as customers, Its more like employer and support staff! If you have a poor staff yes you would loose customers and money, But teachers can not fire students who will not do homework, fail to study or have so many problems distracting them they do poorly and its the teacher will pay for it will all ready low pay…. And other say they have it made with summers or holiday off, guess what most take training classes during the summer. My wife a new teacher spends time after school with kids and 2-3 hours a night grading and preparing for the next day

  2. Amy Koenig Says:

    We teachers can only hope and pray Crist vetoes this abomination of a bill.
    Administrators have always had the ability to rid schools of substandard teachers; they just need to have the follow through to do it! This bill will only pit teacher against teacher, destroy the unions, and hurt the lowest performing students. It will also encourage cheating to obtain the scores needed to keep your pay. A poorly thought out mess that NO state will follow, so don’t believe that hype. Charlie, we teachers hope you are listening and will do the right thing.

  3. sharon tring Says:

    This bill is supposed to be about helping the children of Florida succeed, however the legislators have defined our children as numbers scored on a test. If parents had more input as to implementing the FCAT in the beginning we would not be in this mess. Now the taxpayers are handing over 900 million dollars to private corporations to implement more tests. NO ADVANTAGE TO STUDENTS, PARENTS, TAXPAYERS OR TEACHERS JUST MORE TAXPAYER MONEY FOR PRIVATE CORPORATIONS. PLEASE LET US SLOW DOWN AND USE OUR BEST RESOURCES TO IMPLEMENT A PLAN TO ACHIEVE SUCCESS FOR OUR CHILDREN. OUR BEST RESOURCES?? OUR CHILDREN AND THEIR PARENTS, TEACHERS AND ADMINISTRATORS AND OF COURSE THE PEOPLE PAYING FOR THIS-THE TAXPAYER!! WE HAVE NO POLITICAL AGENDA OR GREED WE ONLY WANT WHAT IS BEST FOR OUR CHILDREN.

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