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Scott and teachers union meet over grouper dinner — with a little history on the side

by John Kennedy | September 14th, 2012

History was the garnish to plates of grouper served Friday night at the Governor’s Mansion, when Republican Gov. Rick Scott had dinner with a half-dozen representatives of the state’s largest teachers’ union.

Both sides said the closed-door dinner meeting went well, being the first of its kind since Scott took office in January 2011. Florida Education Association President Andy Ford is expected to return for a meeting with Scott next week — this time a more traditional business huddle likely slated for Wednesday in the governor’s office, both sides said.

“I think we can always find opportunity to improve what’s on the books — especially with merit pay,” Ford said, adding, “Tonight was a good first step toward having some dialogue that probably should have happened a long time ago.”  

Scott railed against the teachers’ union during his election campaign two years ago, when the FEA was a heavy backer of Scott’s rival, vanquished Democratic gubernatorial nominee Alex Sink.

 The relationship didn’t get any warmer.

The first bill Scott signed into law as governor recast the way teachers were evaluated — making reviews more dependent on student performance. The legislation has been challenged by the union. The same session, Scott approved a measure that extracted 3 percent payments from public employees in the Florida Retirement System, the bulk of them teachers and other school board employees.

The first state budget Scott signed cut public school funding by $1.3 billion. The second spending plan restored $1 billion — but most school districts have eliminated scores of jobs.

Much of the discussion Friday pivoted around how the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) is deployed both for gauging students and teachers, along with Scott and the Republican-ruled Legislature’s push to expand virtual education. The possibility of private school vouchers returning — after they were ruled unconstitutional in 2006 by the Florida Supreme Court — wasn’t on the table, Scott said.

“I’m working on this job,” Scott said, when asked why it’s taken so long to meet with FEA representatives. “Remember, as a lawyer, you’re always practicing.”

The Friday night dinner capped a week in which Scott traveled the state on a “listening tour,” meeting with parents, teachers, school superintendents and principals to discuss how Florida can improve its education system.  He was in Boca Raton on Tuesday and plans to complete his tour next week in Fort Walton Beach.

“I believe parents ought to have choice, I believe that’s good for them,” Scott said. “I believe in the public school system. I grew up in the public school system. It was good for me. The teachers had a dramatic, positive impact on the my life….Is choice good? Yeah. But let’s make sure we do it the right way. Is competition good? Sure, but let’s make sure we do it the right way.”

After bidding goodnight to Scott at the mansion door, Ford acknowledged he was “shocked” by the reachout from the governor. But he said he welcomed the dialogue. Still, he told reporters, some issues are not up for discussion.

Vouchers? “Not for us. End of story,” Ford said.

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6 Responses to “Scott and teachers union meet over grouper dinner — with a little history on the side”

  1. Common Sense Says:

    Common sense: 9/11 anniversity, Unstable Middle East countries = BEEFED UP SECURITY for America embassies and personnel

    If the Secret Service can give 6 agents to protect WH Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett while she vacations on Martha’s Vineyard,

    then surely more security should have been deployed during the 9/11 anniversary.

    There is just no excuse for this oversight.

    Failed Foreign Policy=President Obama

  2. Backlink Wheel Says:

    The first state budget Scott signed cut public school funding by $1.3 billion. The second spending plan restored $1 billion — but most school districts have eliminated scores of jobs.

  3. Nick Says:

    Florida is in the black, not red.

    Thanks, to Rick Scott, FL is not struggling like CALIFORNIA IS!

    California Governor Brown is proposing pension reforms and tax INCREASES.

    A little late, Governor Brown. California has people fleeing the state due to heavy taxation, CA has implemened TAXATION on online sales, CA has 1 of the worst educational system in the whole of the USA (once it HAD the best system!), one third of all those on government assistance live in CA.

    Much prefer the sensible leadership of Governor Scott!

    Always beware of articles on the governor promoted in the Palm Beach Post. S FL is skewed toward democrats and they are trying to paint Scott as evil.

    GO Scott in 2014

  4. The best Says:

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  5. Searcher Says:

    Just a little over 2 years, and an new Inauguration, and Scott will just be a sad memory!

  6. Free Says:

    http://katalog.seo-manager.pl/

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