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Scott promises more change to come in Florida schools

by John Kennedy | March 25th, 2011

Gov. Rick Scott reenacted Friday his signing into law legislation restricting teacher tenure and introducing merit pay — steps fiercely fought by the state’s teachers’ union.

“The big winner here is all our kids,” Scott assured in a brief ceremony at the Capitol, flanked by House and Senate sponsors of the measure, approved last week by the Republican-ruled Legislature.

It’s the first state law enacted by the rookie governor. “Good start, governor,” shouted Sen. Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, after Scott put down his pen.

Scott formally signed the legislation Thursday at a Jacksonville school, capping a long political march by Republican leaders. Florida GOP lawmakers have been pushing back against the Florida Education Association for years and got close last year to enacting the merit pay bill – only to have then-Gov. Charlie Crist veto it.

Scott indicated Friday that he’s got plenty more to change in Florida schools.

“We’ve got to get charter schools expanded, we’ve go to give our public schools the opportunity to be run by third parties and be way more innovative,” said Scott — who declined to take questions following the ceremony.

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38 Responses to “Scott promises more change to come in Florida schools”

  1. Cranky Yankee Says:

    “We’ve got to get charter schools expanded, we’ve go (sic) to give our public schools the opportunity to be run by third parties and be way more innovative,” said Scott.

    Right, let’s get the “public” out of the public schools. Hey, genius, as soon as you turn them over to third parties THEY ARE NO LONGER PUBLIC!. Guess you want to create a network of little bastians of elitism funded by all the public funds funneled off from the so-called “underperforming” schools.

  2. Educator Says:

    When we get rid of the Fascist Scott his so called “changes” will be quickly changed back to normal. He is sitting where he is with less than 51% of the vote. His current approval rating is 20%. He is the joke of the USA.

  3. Kevin Says:

    Has anyone started a petition to recall this laughing stock of a governor yet? Just about everyone I know would be willing to sign it but nobody seems to know the process for getting one started.

  4. Steve W. Says:

    Let’s privatize public schools so that corporate crooks can steal government money! Hey it worked at Columbia/HCA. Alright–millions for the cronies. Rich man’s welfare.

    Teacher’s teaching to tests for their own bottom line is far different from teachers who are educating. This is a disgrace. No I’m not a teacher or a member of a union, just a concerned father of two elementary kids.

    I hope we have a state left when this one termer’s reign is over.

  5. Kevin Says:

    Here is a petition that has already started everyone who cares about Florida should sign it so we can save our state before it’s too late.

    http://www.thepetitionsite.com/2/recall-governor-rick-scott-now/

  6. M47 Says:

    Public schools run by third parties!!!! In other words, divert public funds to third party entities…..this is just out of control. This is a function of the polarization of our citizenry and the inability to act as a cohesive force of concerned individuals. I am placing this out there for us to be warned: Next is the pool of money within the Florida Retirement System…sure, privatize that!!!! Then what? Folks who are looking forward to their retirement will realize those funds went in the form of bonuses to Wall Street investors. Am I the only one concerned??????

  7. M j Jean Says:

    I do not understand how this bill is going to work. My wife teaches at an inner city school. You have kids that are living with drug using parents, you have kids who are trying to survive in the ghettos. You have kids that are dealing with mental problems, due to their parent using drugs or drinking alcohol while they were pregnent. Some times its hard to teach in those situations. Its not fair to inner city school teachers. This state will be short of teachers in the up coming years. Alot of teachers are quitting teaching, and heading to the medical field.

  8. Janine B Says:

    Go Rick Scott!

  9. Charlie Says:

    The biggest a–hole this state has ever had as a leader and I use that loosely. For once I hope the liberal press will stay after him, dig up some dirt, go after his family and friends. He is a disgrace to Florida, to hard working teachers and to all tax payors. After everything is privatized, we tax payors will be paying exponentially more for the same or less service.

  10. Nonyabiz Says:

    Jeanie B… Rick Scott is Fleecing this state. And you think he is doing a good job? His company Solantic is going to get the contract to run all the now, public Hospitals in the state. Rick Scott would stand to personally, make a couple of Billion in the first year. He will also, be the biggest recipient of the Medicare dollars of anyone in the state. Oh… and why is it that Scott wants to drug test all public employees on a regular basis? Bingo… his company will also get that contract under the proposed legislation that will be voted on this session. That should make up for the $1.7 Billion fine he had to pay for the largest medicare fraud in history… and some! He has already, refused to give the $35 Million, that the Federal Govt awarded to Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, citing he doesn’t think that they should take federal dollars. But, he is also, Not giving the money back??? He is just going to let people die, so that he can get even richer off of the poor people of Florida. In case you didn’t know Jackson Memorial is his competition. Also, Jackson Memorial are awesome… one of the best trauma hospitals in the country! I guess he doesn’t like quality care. Only profits… and poor care. He also, is doing away with the Omnibus program that investigates Senior Abuse at Nursing homes. He also, owns several Nusrsing homes in FL that are currently under investigation for abuse and neglect.
    Rick Scott is EVIL… PERIOD!
    Geez… could you be any dumber?
    The Tea Bagging Morons, are to blame for the demise of this once great Nation.

  11. M j Jean Says:

    Thats what happens when people don’t get up and vote. Clowns end up turning the state into a three ring circus.

  12. teacher jobs in florida Says:

    WANTED- FLORIDA TEACHERS: Low pay. No job security. Poor working conditions. Must pay for supplies with money from your own pocket. Bring your magic wand.

  13. job opportunities for crooks Says:

    Run your own charter school! Set your own salary! Fake the enrollment! Design your own curriculum whatever way you want! Not subject to any state regulation or testing! Kick out your undesirable students! Millions to be made!

    http://motherjones.com/politics/2010/12/rick-scott-florida-education-jeb-bush

  14. Mike Says:

    I am finishing my 14th year teaching handicapped kids. I have not had a raise in years. With the 5% I will now be paying, I will be making less in 2012 then 2006. They have taken away benefits, job security, retirement, and now even more money. That does not include the more than $1000 I spend a year on supplies that FL does not supply us. If you are a college student going into this line of work, I sadly suggest you change majors while you have time. It is too late for a lot of us.

  15. Paula Gorma Says:

    I beg to differ that privatizing schools will hurt. I run a private school, get pay half the tuition to educate my students than that of the public schools. My class size is 13 students per teacher and my students do very well on standardized testing. In fact many of the come from the public sector, many are low income, and were not doing well academically, but now are. On nationally normed test, not some subjective teacher grade. The difference we dont pay all the benefits, our money goes to keeping class sizes small not teachers retirements. Our teachers are not encumbered by Florida Sunshine State standards and teaching to a test. We just do what is right by the kid, and everything else works it way out. Privatization, with accountability, will be the biggest blessing this state can receive.

  16. Bill Says:

    Is this guy serious. Let’s recall this horrible gov. as soon as possible. We are going to let him privatize our schools so his cronies can make money off are children. Stand up Florida and get this guy out soon. I truly am petrified about what he will do next.

  17. Bill Says:

    Hey Paula in last post,
    How much do you pay your teachers? Do they even have degrees? Please let me know how qualified they really are???? Get real.

  18. Paula Gorma Says:

    Bill,
    For the record I have a PHD in educational psychology. All my teaching staff have a minimum of a bachelors and I have two master level professionals as well. I dont pay what the public school does. I do however, offer my staff a wonderful working environment in which they know they are making a difference in students life. Oh BTW, my retention rate in staff is also great. See we are not in it to make allot, we are not in it to retire, we are in it to teach.

  19. Paula Gorma Says:

    Bill
    I thought you might also like to know more about our privatized school and ouroutcome measures. We test every student upon entering into the school using a nationally normed academic achievement test. Many of them come to us years behind in reading, math and english. We also test at the end of the school year. By the end of the first year we average a 3 year gain in the above mentioned subjects. We have a 50% dual enrollment rate for our high school seniors, an 80% matriculation rate to college, and our graduation rate is 98%. Many of our students are ESE students, have ADD or ADHD or dyslexic, but they succeed where they were failing in public school. I say all this to let you know your comments about my staff’s degrees, and or the quality of our educational program, only proves the ignorance of the masses regarding what privatization is and can do.

  20. Monica Says:

    Paula – You stated two things that I think everyone here should note:

    1. Your class sizes with ESE kids are all at 13!
    2. You aren’t hindered by the requirements of the state – meaning your teachers have the free reign that teachers USED to have in Florida

    Could it be the reason they are successful is because you DON’T have to meet all the silly requirements of the state? Could it be that you happen to have TINY sized classes while public schools are told MORE IS BETTER IF THE TEACHER IS GREAT! Seriously, I think you gave us the reason you do well…small class sizes and also no regulation.

    Well, now, all we have to do is set up public schools in the same way and we should have the same results…

  21. Paula Gorma Says:

    Monica
    I agree those are two major points, however, it lends itself to the reason that privatization is a blessing. I dont have to follow all the silly state mandates, I get to make the decision on the ground floor. I get to make the decisions that are best for the students. I also think that the financial burden of teacher retirement and benefits is the reason that the we have such high classroom sizes. The average FTE is 9000 per student. That is 225000 per classroom of 25 students, I know many classes are way larger than this. Teacher salary in Florida is not even a quarter of this. So where is this money going to. I think it is going to teachers that have retired and over bloated administrative fees. With privatization you do not have over bloated administrative costs, and you dont have to offer retirement. I personally dont think that retirement should be offered to any state or federal employee, it is too draining on the economy.

  22. Ahweemawhey Says:

    Paula, I’d like to ask you what you think happens to people who work for a small salary all their lives and then retirement age comes? Do they pitch a tent under the bridge or end up on park benches? If you pay a large salary then people can save and prepare for old age, but if you don’t? They will end up as wards of the government one way or another, or, if you’re under the Rick Scott regime, they will die shortly after retirement and he won’t have to deal with their issues. I don’t understand how someone who loves to teach children could treat adults with such disdain. We are all human beings and deserve life, liberty, pursuit of happiness.

  23. Jason Says:

    Firstly let me say I hate “Tricky Ricky” and his skeletor looking self. It’s amazing how far public schooling has declined over the years, when i entered the 6th grade I was tested too see if I would benefit from being placed a grade ahead. what they found was that in the 6th grade I had a college freshman reading level and a college sophmore math level, that was in 1988 up until that point i had great teachers that worked hard and cared about thier students. Numerous times i was not allowed to give a spoken book report because of my choices for reading begining in the second grade but i understand not many youngsters at 8 or 9yrs old are devouring Stephen King novels as fast as he can write them. My mother was taking nursing classes and at times left her books laying around and i would study those as well. We had programs back in the day like RIF or the scholastic book sales we had reading challenges for each book read it was a point those with the most points were rewarded with something special from the teachers usually from thier own pockets but selected personally for those that did well. I never finished first in the amount of books read and i was ok with that because i knew what i was reading was for the most quality over quanity.

    long story short i was given the ultimate choice on what to do skip ahead or stay back and I stayed back i didn’t want to lose my friends or be out of place BUT i still felt the same way akward at times because i could go to school and have the answers pull the straight A’s BUT I was always bored, Bored out of my mind. in high school the pattern continued except now I was able to have electives and work study i’d go to class to sleep because i worked 2 late the night before get the assignments from my teachers at the end and still carried a 3.7 my first 2 years.
    History Algebra 2 american and english lit Biology 2 and PE (which i failed because I refused to show up hence the 3.7
    the teachers tried to motivate and challenge me in fact for my junior year I spent half that time helping grade other students papers was i a nerd or a dork nope just too smart for my own good. The Public school system has been on a steady roll down hill ever since Dan Quayle argued with a student on how to spell potato! Thats when teachers in the public schools started getting rail roaded. Cuts started being made classes were having a few more students added each year. benefits and pensions being chisled away by the republicans mandatory tests the MEAP (now MCAT) showed up in MI at some point then it was required credits in certain subjects to graduate including PE and a foreign language. guess what I took french 1 and 2 havent spoken it since took work study and food mgmt courses to satisfy my elective requirements in my junior year! 1994 comes along and to graduate I HAD to have 3 PE credits to graduate MANADTORY i had 7 credits more than needed to gradutae with my class but because of those 3 PE credits weren’t met I never graduated.

    20 years later my sons class rooms have 35 students in it and 1 teacher back in my day 20 -25 was alot we didnt have the worries back then teachers do these days 15years ago colombine happend since then hearing news reports of teachers getting shot at for not passing a student isn’t that uncommon parents abusing teachers physically and verbally for failing a student for inaddequate work is typical. 12 and 13year olds in gangs doing drugs drinking and getting pregnant while they are supposed to be in school is running rampant and it’s not because the teachers are failing but because the government is failing by constantly cutting into funding for public schools which also contributes to school security officers and counselors where at times intervention and discussions are needed parents are failing to be aware of what thier children are really doing but that is because for the most part we are having to work longer days to just make ends meet to keep food and basic needs met for our families while the fat cats are collecting 170k a year to do what …… and teachers are taking the blame!

  24. Florida Educator Says:

    Hi Paula,
    Since you tell me many of your students have learning disabilities, seems you have selected to work with a specific population of children. I’m can assume then you just don’t accept everyone who comes knocking on your door. So that got me thinking what your school’s accepted standards would be. A search of the Internet reveals a Paula Gorman at The New Generation School in Columbia County Florida.
    Taken from New Generation website: ‘A small school designed to meet the needs of a specific population. The records as well as the personal interview are required to ensure we are serving the appropriate students. The website describes the philosphy of New Generation as well as the intended population. Submitting the application does not guarantee admission but does guarantee consideration. Final selection will be based upon many factors including a review of records, the personal interview and the student’s desire to participate in the program. New Generation is a Ministry.
    New Generation School went from one class of ten students in a single room at a local church, to 60 students, four middle and high school classes in a 58,000 square foot building. To date, 24 students have graduated from our program, many of which went on to college.
    Paula Gorman left the stability of a predictable paycheck to do what she felt God was telling her to do: start a non-traditional, educational research based school to teach students that they can learn
    Tution: $5500.00 year.’
    Congratulations on your success. But it is hardly duplicated in a large school system. If it could, you wouldn’t have left in the first place.

  25. Ha ha Paula Says:

    Nice work, Florida Educator. I guess we won’t hear from Paula anymore.

  26. nlranger Says:

    We cannot recall a governor or legislator in Florida. There is no law or constitutional amendment to allow for this to happen. There are two bills that are out there to have this put on the ballot in 2012. Until then, we have to suffer.

    Only 48% of Floridians voted in the last election. And while many who voted for him are sorry they did so, there are many more who voted for the people who created these bills. It is not enough to to vote out Scott in 2012, but vote out legislators who are running in 2011 and in 2012. We have to get people out to vote! Vote blue, vote red – more people have to vote. One vote does make a difference.

    My biggest complaint is while people are lambasting public servants for draining the life out of the state (sarcasm intended), how come no one talks about how much the legislators make? $30K for 60 odd days of work? And they accrue benefits at the same rate as firemen and policemen. They also vote on their own benefits and salary. Some argued that they should start paying into their own pension, but it was voted down. Why isn’t anyone up in arms about this?

    Or, how about our school board members – in my county they are making the same as a 5 year teacher. With full benefits/pensions. They get an automatic raise, courtesy of a state law. They can’t even refuse it, they just get it. Yet no one says anything about them!

    That is why this is a political attack against unions – if it was truly about money or the good of the children, we’d be going after everyone, not just public employees.

  27. John Stewart Says:

    I don’t know why a public education isn’t as jealously guarded as Social Security. Both are government services that benefit EVERYONE. I think the main reason is that, at anyone time, there are far more retirees than parents. The retirees, or at least some of them, elect a hatchet man like Scott to cut their (school) taxes because these retirees have already gotten “theirs” from the government. I know this sounds cynical.
    As far as privatization is concerened — giving tax dollars to families to send their students to private schools — this reminds me of Bush’s plan to privatize Social Security. To me, the major difference between programs that benefit everyone and private businesses, is that we can’t afford to have public education and Social Secuirty go bust, but we can afford to let individual private businesses go under.

  28. hstorm Says:

    Nice work Florida Ed. The devil is always in the details when it comes to the privatization proponents. If all schools had local controls and the ability to select/target a clientele, there would be no problems. That would be the smart move: local control and right to opportunity, not attendance.

    Problem with that is the pols don’t get their cut of personal benefits in such a model. So instead it’s big gov. centralization to limit the successes of the system and support the argument for privatization (and gain political and economic advantages along the way)

    Charter schools have become an industry (coincidentally run by a few legislators as their day job) which was not the original intent. So essentially it’s a corrupt model at this point given the profit/public revenue contradictions. Ironically, vouchers would be the private school killers, as there is no way the same public requirements wouldn’t be legally required.

    JS, you are correct, our unique dynamic of immigrant retirees as a major demographic is one of the main impediments to having any semblance of solid, consistent funding for education.

  29. Paula Gorma Says:

    For those that thought I was lost, no I went to bed. I appreciate the website search and indeed that is us. The interview and gaining records is to ensure we are serving the right population. We do not serve mentally handicapped children that fall in a range that we feel would not benefit from our approach, we also do not serve behaviorally disordered students. I can hear those skeptical minds thinking, oh they weed out the ones we dont want. No we make no promises that we can not keep. I agree this is not something that a public school can do. I however, know that there could be schools developed to work with these populations, in fact I am considering doing just that. I would however, shape them differently than that of what I currently do, because they would need this. It is what good privatization should do. Develop a focus, only work within their focus and be honest about who and what they can do. I also, once again state that this can not be done on the large scale system that is currently our education system, that is why privatization is a blessing. What our state can not do, small private entities can. It amazes me how many times there is a response to my posting that only supports my original premise that privatization could be very good.
    To the individual who said I was heartless to the elderly, please I worked in a nursing home, I know that plight as well. I would point out that you logic is missing. Based on your statements because I dont believe in state or federal sponsored retirement I want them to starve in old age. I am wondering about the rest of the people who are currently working, often with much lower salary, who dont have retirement after they work 20 years. They find away, they save on their own if they are wise. Why is it state and federal employees dont have to do the same, or are we truly a caste system, with the government as the upper class?

  30. John Stewart Says:

    Ms. Gorma, you seem to be saying that because government doesn’t seem capable — right now — of financing retirements for public workers, that it never should. This wasn’t a big issue when the economy was better. So the fundamental issue is not a “caste” system, but the larger economy. When the economy bounces back, the government will once again be able to pay its obligations toward public worker. There is no point to canceling them due to a temporary economic downturn.

  31. please vote DEM Says:

    Florida Legislature Proves Once And For All That It Is For Sale. (as of Thursday). All DEMS opposed. All but 2 or 3 Republicans in favor.

    http://www.tampabay.com/news/politics/stateroundup/florida-legislature-proves-once-and-for-all-that-it-is-for-sale/1159953

  32. please vote DEM Says:

    Rick Scott’s school reform for scoundrels.

    http://motherjones.com/politics/2010/12/rick-scott-florida-education-jeb-bush

  33. please vote DEM Says:

    MSNBC Rick Scott test- tax cuts for dummies.

    http://video.ca.msn.com/watch/video/the-rick-scott-test-tax-cuts-for-dummies/17y36pyw9

  34. please vote DEM Says:

    Rick Scott cuts the Department of Children and Families by $179 million, and cuts 1,849 DCF jobs, while increasing his own office’s budget by $343 million (a 116 percent increase). “We have to be more effective with less money,” he said about the cuts. Why doesn’t he take his own advice?!

  35. please vote DEM Says:

    I’d rather have my tax paying dollar go to firefighters, teachers, and police than GREEDY RICH PEOPLE!!!!!

  36. Carlos Says:

    Every elected official has his judgment day. His day will be come on the next elections where he will be defeated by a landslide. He will have the same reputation he had as a crook when he was elected governor of the State of Florida and that will be his legacy!

  37. Bill D - Where are you? Says:

    BillD says ” Bill Says:
    March 25th, 2011 at 6:07 pm
    Hey Paula in last post,
    How much do you pay your teachers? Do they even have degrees? Please let me know how qualified they really are???? Get real.”
    And then never said anymore??? Didn’t YOU want the answers from Paula Bill D?.
    I guess that Bill didn’t want to communicate, just to whine.

  38. DM Says:

    Scott is a one-timer and will burn out. BUT, the people complaining about union rights being stomped are only some union employees. Other union employees, like me, don’t want to be in a union. I worked in non-union jobs for many years, but because I chose a job that was unionized, I had to join. I’ll be glad to have the slackers moved out so the rest of us can keep doing a good – and better – job.

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