So, a lot has happened in Florida in the last 4 weeks when we woke up to find that the State Legislature was quietly and quickly passing a disaster of an education bill. To recap, this is a bill that removes teacher tenure, offers one year contracts, gives no additional pay for advanced degrees, and penalizes teachers for students' poor performance on a subject test (that aren't written yet) in every subject area, for every student (regardless of ability or disability).
1st, there was a rally at the state capitol led by Crist and the Republicans to tout how great vouchers were.
2nd, the legislation sailed through the state senate.
3rd, Teachers, students, parents and concerned citizens rapidly organized FB groups, town rallies, interviews with local press, and thousands and thousands of calls, emails, and letters went out.
4th, after 22 hours of debate and no amendments, with staunch and overwhelming opposition from the public, the Florida house passed the bill.
5th, Jeb said Crist would do the right thing and vote it into law.
6th, Crist reconsidered.
But that's not the end of the story. That's not even the end of the introduction.
You see, Jeb, as we all knew he would, decided that his ideas for reforming education in Florida just deserved a national audience. It started on April 1 in Alabama, when he decided to play politics in Alabama's gubernatorial race. That's right, Alabama! We're gonna share him with you! Lucky, lucky you.
Here's the education "plan" being touted by the republican gubernatorial candidate in Alabama that was so good that Jeb just had to make a joint appearance over it. I've highlighted some of the more clever passages:
--- Reform tenure laws and offer financial incentives to teachers who perform well.
--- Bring charter schools to Alabama and expand existing reading, math, science and distance learning initiatives.
--- Find funding for career training programs and improve pre-K programs.
--- Implement stable education budgeting to prevent proration and give local school systems more discretion over funding.
--- Find an alternative to Alabama's current formula for funding schools.
--- Resist interference by the Alabama Education Association in community colleges.
--- Allocate resources to two-year college programs that provide training relevant to state industries.
--- Modify teacher certification requirements to allow industry professionals to teach high school career-tech courses.
--- Enhance the role colleges and universities serve in attracting industry.
--- Develop long-term plans for colleges and universities and reinvest in higher education while making sure funds are used efficiently.
Jeb's like a whack- a -mole: you just never know where he's gonna pop up. Where to next, ol' boy? (Maybe in Arne Duncan's education policy?)
The scary thing is that to the average person, this stuff sounds reasonable. "Use funds efficiently", "find funding", "improve pre-K", "allocate resources". Yet, there are no specifics because the only way to do these things is to cut teacher pay by enacting draconian teacher penalties for poor test scores. They're certainly not going to raise taxes.
In the meantime, I say we stop this profiteer in his tracks. Crist is hearing us. PLEASE contact him. This impacts all of us, because if it passes in Florida he will take it on the road.
PLEASE call and email Gov. Charlie Crist TODAY and let him know to VETO Senate Bill 6/House Bill 7189. They have had very nice people answering the phone and taking down our messages, so we need to be sure to be polite.
Call campaign office: 850-907-1218
Snail mail a post card with "VETO SB6":
Office of Governor Charlie Crist
State of Florida
400 S. Monroe St.
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0001