As I read about Florida SB 6 on the blogs and in the news this afternoon, several things come to mind. Unions hate reform, merit pay, and Senate Bill 6. The statewide (Democratic Allied) teachers union and many individual teachers blame the "Republican Lawmakers in Tallahassee" for ramming this reform through. "It's an outrage" seems to be the overriding sentiment. Funny how it seems perfectly fine for Democrats, at the National level, to Ram the Government takeover of Health Care down the throats of Republicans and the overwhelming majority of American taxpayers. Yeah, that's okay at the National level, but what the republicans are doing with Senate Bill 6 in florida--that's "at outrage" Talk about your hypocritical double standard.....It's funny how things can cut two directions. But, back to SB6...
First off, there is a lot of misinformation and anti-SB6 spin being thrown out by those that seek to derail this reform effort. Everyone should read this piece-- which lists the facts vs the myths surrounding SB 6.
I think the editorial by Mike Thomas on merit pay for teachers (a large component of SB6 and President Barack Obama's Race to the Top) In today's Orlando Sentinel really hits the mark. from the piece:
"Everything the unions have fought against is working. For decades they have promoted a system in which poor, minority children are neglected, the best teachers are encouraged to go to white suburban schools, excellence is not rewarded and incompetence is not weeded out. There has been no free-market reality check in public education. Too many resources are not targeted to where they will do the most good. A school district cannot pay more to get a good math or science teacher, even though they are rare commodities, because everybody must be paid the same"
By contrast, the editorial in today's Miami Sun-Sentinel that attempts to marginalize the reforms of senate bill 6 could have been mailed in by the FEA; This editorial was blatantly pro-union and totally ridiculous. from the piece:
"No one should mistake the measure linking teacher salaries to student performance on annual tests for a serious effort to reform education. A pointed jab at teacher unions and school districts is more like it."
The Palm Beach Post's "Extra Credit Blog" from Friday afternoon talks about the CEO of the Florida Chamber of Commerce lending his support to SB6. The blog discussion on this thread is very interesting with poster number 15 putting the following comment on the board:
"John Abrahams Says:
March 20th, 2010 at 1:04 am
Please start thinking/discussing the beginning of state wide “sick out” days with your colleagues, districts and unions. Our way of striking.Broward, Palm Beach, and Miami/Dade are already discussing options. If we use “sick out” days, were at least covered financially until those are used up. Even after that, we might lose a couple days of pay –consider it a furlough (something that many districts plan on doing anyway).
If we need to lose a couple days of income in order to be heard, so be it. I’ll take a week or two hit instead of possibly losing half my income for the next 20 years. NE states need to strike only a couple of days before demands are met Here is your teachable moment - turn something horrible into a way of receiving a way overdue list of recognitions - benefits, salary, and most important support for the wonderful job we do everyday.
Would good teachers really consider such a childish, fiscally irresponsible stunt? all I can say is WOW! I wonder if such a stunt would be tolerated, as essentially it would be a "pseudo-strike" --Illegal in Florida. I wonder how teachers in counties like Escambia, where a majority of teachers are not members of the union, would react to a sick-out?
The most important question I would ask any teacher who would participate in something like this is "What about your class, what about your students?"
Would the teacher's union condone such behavior by their members?.
I am one member of a five person board. The opinions I express on this forum are mine only, and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the Escambia County Staff, Administrators, Employees, or anyone else associated with Escambia County Florida. I am interested in establishing this blog as a means of additional transparency to the public, outreach to the community, and information dissemination to all who choose to look. Feedback is welcome, but because public participation is equally encouraged, appropriate language and decorum is mandatory.