A Devious Plan to Crush Education in Florida

Our kids and teachers need us now more than ever.  Senate Bill 6 and House Bill 7189 will destroy any chance we have of attracting and keeping the best and brightest teachers for our kids.

SB 6 sponsored by Sen. John Thrasher, Republican Party Chairman, has passed the Senate.

HB 7189 passed its first committee Thursday, March 25th, after teachers and parents were cut off during comments.  Leadership prohibited debate and refused to even consider any amendments.

Everyone knows the example of the child actor who is responsible for supporting his entire family.  Because of high-stakes testing, the entire burden of whether or not your school gets its money and A grade rests on our children’s slender shoulders.  SB6 and HB7189 is that concept on steroids.  The loving relationship between teacher and child will become an anxious teacher pressing for perfection from our kids because his or her salary depends on whether your child delivers.

Think about it:  Our children forced to bear the weight of delivering only the highest level of performance on FCAT.  Nothing less will do.  The adults in their lives – principals, superintendents, school board members- reduced to wait anxiously off-stage to learn whether these kids did well enough to deliver the money.  The adults will not be allowed to weigh in on the evaluation or retention of teachers.  Everything rests solely on the performance of your child and my child on the highest of high-stakes tests.

Our kids continue to be the collateral damage of this insanity.  The senators and representatives that voted for these draconian and some say unconstitutional bills, are the problem.

Legislators have aggressively pushed the idea that this is a “union-busting” bill.  Our lawmakers need to know two things:

1.  We are parents.  We are not the union.
2.  We don’t like this bill.

We, the parents, don’t approve of the way these bills have been shoved down our throats.  It’s unacceptable to stop the public from speaking at committee hearings, just to shut down opposition.

Here’s what these bills take away from our kids:

  • Local school boards and parents will lose any control over education policies regarding teacher evaluations.
  • Eliminates due process and places all new teachers on annual contracts which may be non renewed for any reason without recourse.
  • Implementing new “teacher quality” rewards means an additional 5% cut to every district in the state – stripping $50 million from Duval, $63 million from Orange, and $15 million from – you get the picture.  $900 million statewide funding will be cut off the top of the approved budget.
  • Race to the Top federal funds will not offset the cost of SB 6 / HB 7189.
  • Florida will be the only state in the nation to base 50% of teacher evaluations on standardized tests.
  • Creating these new end of year tests will cost local districts millions to develop and are completely unfunded.
  • Permits non renewal of a teaching CERTIFICATE if a teacher cannot demonstrate student gains in 4 of the 5 preceding years.  Who will choose to teach the lowest performing students?
  • Prohibits recognition for years of service or advanced degrees in determining teachers’ salaries.  All incentives for teachers to receive advanced degrees are eliminated.  What does this say to our kids about the value of education?
  • The incredibly successful National Board Certification program is all but eliminated.
  • Programs that address regions with critical teacher shortages and provide loan forgiveness for teachers willing to serve in low-performing schools are eliminated.
  • Private schools getting vouchers will see a huge leap in money, while public school funding will face cuts.  Private voucher schools are not required to conform to any of these provisions, including FCAT.

Governor Crist said recently that SB6/HB 7189, “focuses on trying to help children and encouraging better teachers,” when in fact these bills do just the opposite.   Senator Thrasher, the sponsor of SB6, is inspired and aided by former Governor Jeb Bush.  His actions combined with the fact that he is the Florida Republican Party Chair, make it appear that he has allowed political ideology to trump all logic and common sense.

We need an onslaught to break through this sludge.  Call, write and tell your friends about this. Nothing short of outrage and massive numbers of phone calls will do.  Our teachers and kids deserve so much better.

Tell these lawmakers that their actions speak louder than words.  We’re watching and if they don’t vote no on SB 6/HB 7189, we’ll use our vote against them at their next election.

Call Governor Crist 850-488-4441

Call House Speaker Larry Cretul at 850-488-1450 / District office 352 873 6564

Call Senate President Jeff Atwater – 850-487-5229

Visit your County page on our website and call your Representatives.

Tell them to vote NO on HB 7189 when they vote this week.

View our latest video update:

Let’s let our lawmakers try this “Accountability” shoe on for size.  Take a look at how your Senators voted on SB 6 and how House committee members voted on HB 7189:

Senate Bill 6

17 senators voted NO on SB6 siding with our kids and teachers.  Please thank them, especially Paula Dockery, Charles Dean, Dennis Jones, and Alex Villalobos that broke with their party despite possible retribution:

Dave Aronberg, D 27 Greenacres 850-487-5356

Larcenia Bullard, D 39 Miami 850-487-5127

Charles Dean, R 3 Inverness 850-487-5017

Ted Deutch, D 30 Delray Beach 850-487-5091

Paula Dockery,  R 15 Lakeland 850-487-5040

Dan Gelber, D 35 Miami Beach 850-487-5121

Tony Hill, D 1 Jacksonville 850-487-5024

Dennis Jones, R 13 Seminole 850-487-5065

Arthenia Joyner, D 18 Tampa 850-487-5059

Charlie Justice, D 16 St. Petersburg 850-487-5075

Al Lawson, D 6 Tallahassee 850-487-5004

Jeremy Ring, D 32 Margate 850-487-5094

Gary Siplin, D 19 Pine Hills 850-4875190

Eleanor Sobel, D 31 Hollywood 850-487-5097

Alex Villalobos, R 38 Miami 850-487-5130

Frederica Wilson, D 33 Miami Gardens 850-487-5116

21 senators voted YES and are hurting our children and teachers.

J.D. Alexander, R 17 Lake Wales 850-487-5044

Thad  Altman, R 24 Melbourne 850-487-5053

Jeff Atwater, R, 25 North Palm Beach 850-487-5100

Carey Baker, R 20 Eustis 850-487-5014

Mike Bennett, R 21 Bradenton 850-487-5078

Lee Constantine, R 22 Altamonte Springs 850-487-5050

Victor Crist, R 12 Tampa 850-487-5068

Nancy Detert, R 23 Venice  850-487-5081

Alex Dias de la Portilla, R 36 Miami-Dade 850-487-5109

Steve Wise, R 5 Jacksonville 850-487-5027

John Thrasher, R 8 Jacksonville  850-487-5030

Rhonda Storms, R 10 Brandon 850-487-5072

Garrett Richter, R 37 Naples  850-487-5124

Durell Peaden, R 2 Crestview 850-487-5000

Mike Fasano, R 11 New Port Richey 850-487-5062

Don Gaetz, R 4 Destin 850-487-5009

Rudy Garcia, R 40 Hialeah 850-487-5106

Mike Haridopolos, R 26 Melbourne 850-487-5056

Evelyn Lynn, R 7 Daytona Beach 850-487-5033

Joe Negron, R 28 Palm City 850-487-5088

Steve Oelrich, R 14 Gainesville 850-487-5020
Absent for the vote:

Andy Gardner, R, 9 Orlando

Nan Rich, D 34 Sunrise

House Bill 7189

6 representatives voted NO on HB 7189 and came down on the side of our kids and teachers.  Please thank them, especially MICHAEL WEINSTEIN, who broke with his party and faces political retribution:

Dwight Bullard, D 108 Miami

Mia Jones, D 14 Jacksonville

Marty Kiar, D 97 Parkland

Kevin Rader, D 78 Boynton Beach

Elaine Schwartz, D 99 Hollywood

Michael Weinstein, R 19 Orange Park  850-488-1304

9 representatives voted YES in committee and are hurting our children and teachers.

Rachel Burgin, R 56 Tampa

Marti Coley, R 7 Mariana

Anitere Flores, R 114 Miami

Erik Fresen, R 111 Miami

Eddy Gonzalez, R 102 Hialeah Gardens

John Legg, R 46 Port Richey

Scott Plakon, R 37 Longwood

Kelli Stargel, R 64 Lakeland

Will Weatherford, R 61 Wesley Chapel

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Author: fundeducationnow

Fund Education Now.org is permanent grass roots, non-partisan group created by parents to inspire and empower voters to advocate on behalf of Florida's children. We believe that Florida's public education crisis is about more than money. Parents, long silent on this subject, must now stand up and lead the discussion and clearly articulate what we, the end-users of public education, want and expect for our kids and our state.

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