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Most Florida Kossians are undoubtedly already aware of the odious anti-teacher, anti-child, anti-education SB6, which has passed both the State Senate and the House, and now awaits the signature or veto of Governor Charlie Crist.  Rian Fike has provided phenomenal coverage of this bill over the past several weeks and of the heroic efforts of Florida teachers to stop what amounts to the culmination of Jeb Bush's effort to dismantle public education in Florida.

Crist has until this weekend Friday to sign or veto the bill.  Florida Kossians:  Call or email the governor TODAY to urge in the strongest terms that he veto the bill.

Phone:  850-488-4441 or 850-488-7146

Email:  Charlie.crist@myflorida.com

FEA website on SB6: http://makeourschoolsapriority.org/...

Sign Alex Sink's petition:  http://www.alexsink2010.com/...

More on how our efforts will make a difference below the fold.

While Crist was initially a supporter of the bill, the relentless exposure of its sinister implications and the tremendous pressure -- the vocal outrage of parents, teachers, and concerned citizens -- being put on him has caused the fickle governor potentially to reconsider.

As always, Crist is leaving himself plenty of wiggle room. In discussing his thinking, the governor said that teacher concerns are weighing on him and that he's "listening to the people, my boss." The biggest clue might be this statement from Crist: "Shame on any public servant who doesn't listen to the people."

The always excellent Ms. Crissie devoted Morning Feature to this odious bill yesterday.  I will give excerpts from her excellent analysis here, but you should go read the full item for a complete rundown:

This bill is a thinly-veiled attempt to dismantle Florida's public school system, the thin veil being a pretext of "accountability." If Governor Crist signs the bill, no one should aspire to be a public school teacher in Florida. Among its provisions:

  1.  Public school teachers hired after July 1, 2010 can be hired for only one-year contracts. During the first five years of a teacher's career, school officials can decide not to renew the contract without cause. To qualify for a sixth one-year contract, the teacher must have been evaluated as "effective" or "highly effective" in at least two of the previous three years. At least half of the teacher's evaluation will be based on students' performance on standardized tests.

[snip]

  1. Every class at every grade level - K-12 - must be evaluated with a standardized test. For classes whose material is not covered by the FCAT (Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test), each school district must hire an independent academic testing firm to develop a standardized test. This is an unfunded mandate; the money to develop and administer these tests will come from the 5% of school districts' budgets that the bill would require be set aside for test development and ... teacher pay increases.

[snip]

This bill represents the near-culmination of a 35-year conservative project to eliminate public primary and secondary education. For much of that time, as we'll see later this week, conservatives advocated that Unthinkable position to shift the Overton Window and enable other policies to "reform" (read: undermine) public schools. If Governor Crist signs this bill - which other states are looking to as a model - the Unthinkable will be one step closer to becoming Policy.

As NCrissieB so clearly describes, this bill represents both an attack on public education as such and also a vicious Republican vendetta against teachers.  It is insane, in that it will drive smart, qualified young people away from teaching at a time when we so desperately need to encourage more of them to become educators.  While Crist can be craven and unpredictable (see my previous diary on his unfortunate support for AG McCollum's efforts to join the frivolous lawsuit against the HCR bill), his desperation in his Senate bid against Marco Rubio in the Republican primary may, as some have suggested, paradoxically make him more likely to take the bold -- and popular! -- step of vetoing this bill.

Take Action:

Phone:  850-488-4441 or 850-488-7146

Email:  Charlie.crist@myflorida.com

FEA website on SB6:  http://makeourschoolsapriority.org/...

Sign Alex Sink's petition:  http://www.alexsink2010.com/...

-- Stu

Update 1:00pm Rian notes a hopefully very telling moment:

As he left a Children's Week event at FSU Monday evening, Gov. Charlie Crist met Michelle Ruiz, a senior at Johnny Ferguson High in Kendall, south of Miami. The 17-year-old student, who helped to organize the sickout by Miami-Dade teachers Monday, spoke to Crist for a full five minutes and urged the governor to veto the teacher pay and tenure bill, Senate Bill 6.

"The teachers will be so stressed," Ruiz said, "that 'you have to pass this test because my life depends on it .. It's very, very important that this bill gets vetoed.'"

Excellent job Ms. Ruiz!

Originally posted to sdf on Tue Apr 13, 2010 at 07:24 AM PDT.

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