"The whole people must take upon themselves the education of the whole people and be willing to bear the expenses of it. There should not be a district of one mile square, without a school in it, not founded by a charitable individual, but maintained at the public expense of the people themselves." -- John Adams

"No money shall be drawn from the treasury, for the benefit of any religious or theological institution." -- Indiana Constitution Article 1, Section 6.

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilisation, it expects what never was and never will be...nor can they be safe with them without information. Where the press is free and every man able to read, all is safe." – Thomas Jefferson

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Florida's Attempt to Destroy the Teaching Profession

In the past few days the state of Florida has taken the forefront in the nation-wide assault on public education and the teaching profession.

Diane Ravitch put it this way:
The assault on public education and the teaching profession is now in full swing, as states scramble to qualify for the billions of federal funds in President Obama's Race to the Top program. The latest outrage just occurred in Florida, where state legislators passed an extraordinarily stupid piece of legislation. This law abolishes teacher tenure and ties teacher pay to student test scores. In addition, the state will no longer consider either education or experience as factors in teachers' compensation. What teachers earn will depend on their students' test scores.
In other professions experience is a positive thing. To the legislators in Florida, however, teaching experience is not a plus. The national trend towards assuming that all or most teachers are incompetent established by No Child Left Behind and reinforced by the Race to the Top has been codified into law in Florida.

Valerie Strauss, in her Answer Sheet blog on the Washington Post web site wrote:
...the folks behind this either don’t care about public education or don’t understand a single thing about it...The bill was sponsored by state Sen. John Thrasher, the new head of Florida’s Republican Party...He got that post with the influential support of Florida’s former governor, Jeb Bush...Bush’s brother, Neil Bush, co-founded a company called Ignite! Learning that created software used in Florida for FCAT test prep.

What a small world.

It’s pretty clear that this bill is intended to force teachers to accept lesser pay and benefits and a worsening of conditions in the classroom...Florida’s teachers are going to have to make a very loud stand against it. It would be very helpful if they had the support of Education Secretary Arne Duncan...Duncan and President Obama have unfortunately supported the notion of using standardized test scores as a measure to evaluate teacher performance. This is what happens when idealogues take the notion to extremes.
There's very little chance that the current administration in Washington will have any objections to this. They have been against teachers and public schools from the day they took office (during the campaign, then Senator Obama decried the over use of standardized tests, especially when he was talking to teacher). They cheered when an entire school full of teachers were fired because of the poverty that they and other politicians refuse to address (See also here, here, here and here).

Thankfully, teachers in Florida are speaking out - as we all should do.

Again, from Valerie Strauss:
They are taking to the streets, literally and digitally, to transmit their horror over legislation that would end teacher job security, increase student testing and tie teacher pay to student test scores. It also prohibits school districts from taking into account experience, professional credentials or advanced degrees in teacher evaluation and pay...They also plan to bring their protest to Washington D.C. soon, to let their representatives in Congress and federal officials know that they don’t want what they consider an assault on their livelihood and on public education...
Join the facebook group supporting the Florida teachers.

1 comment:

The Reflective Educator said...

Seriously something teacher's should worry about. Thanks for the facebook link.