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.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Florida HB 7189 (SB 6 Companion) Vote by House as Early as Tuesday?

The juggernaut Florida education reform measure known as (SB 6) HB 7189 is set for an 8 hour hearing in The House Education Policy Committee on Monday, April 5. Inside sources believe that the measure will pass the committee along party lines and will be put on the floor for a second reading and eventually an up or down vote by the full house on either Tuesday or Wednesday-- April 6 or April 7.

Sources confirm that a tremendous number of calls have flooded the House of Representatives, with Speaker Larry Cretul reporting to sources that more than 6000 calls came in on Thursday alone regarding HB7189. The majority of these calls are anti- HB7189 SB 6. It is good that some voices are making themselves heard with rational explanations for the need to reform.

The bill in question is definitely a lightning rod-- but those that are extremely close to the process and familiar with the way things work in Tallahassee are sticking with their predictions that this bill will pass and may end up on the Governor’s Desk for Signature by next week’s end.

Predictions are that this bill will come through the house with no substantial amendments or changes. Even if amendments are added, I’m told the Senate would again pass the bill.

Perhaps Florida’s loss in the first round of the Federal Race to the Top Grant will propel this Florida initiative to the Governor’s signature table even quicker than if Florida had won a grant? Speculation has emerged that tremendous pressure was applied by the Teacher’s Unions (Florida and National) to the Federal Government DOE to NOT select Florida as a first round RTTT winner because “buy-in” was not achieved between Florida DOE and the Unions. Of course, everyone in the world is denying this, and for good reason. But, Initial Federal DOE RTTT guidelines stipulated that winners would be announced in April. The first round winners, Delaware and Tennessee, were chosen in late March. Was it simply coincidental that the timing of the first round winners lined up with contentious debate in Florida on “Game Changing” education reform legislation? I’m just saying…

Some feel these EARLY announcements were a conscious decision on the part of the Federal DOE (at the urging of the National and Florida State Teacher’s Unions and their Lobbyists) to slow down this bullet train now called HB7189. Could that have been the reason? Reading some blogs around the state, the sense I get is that the Florida Teachers’ Union is content with Florida’s missing out on a billion dollars in Federal money for Florida’s kids in round one--because the union was not on board. I’m still having a hard time understanding why anyone who claims to care about kids in Florida, regardless of political persuasion, would seem unmoved by the fact that Florida schools just lost out on $1Billion.

We all know everyone was stupefied and amazed when Florida was not chosen—I just hope to God it was not because Florida did not score enough “popularity” points to win.

The good news-it appears as if losing out on RTTT will not dissuade the Florida legislature from pursuing meaningful education reform via SB6/HB 7189. If voting against Florida's RTTT application in round one to change/derail the legislation was the motivation, that idea backfired. Florida is challenging the Status Quo--as I've heard Arne Duncan call for in his speeches.

If Florida fails to win round two RTTT many will feel that "the fix was in" from the start. What a sad travesty if that happens…….Everyone who knows anything knows Florida is on the cutting edge of education reform nationwide-we are the model for it.


Anonymous said...

Very well put; however, it is obvious that you do not represent a rural underfunded county. Nor have you actually taught in a public system. In addition I doubt that you have earned a National Board Certification only to have your rewarded efforts not granted by the system because of "lack of funds". Trust is a real issue in HB 7189 and parent accountability is ruefully omitted. Let's get the legislature off of the teacher's backs and see if the legislature has the gumption to create some laws requiring parental involvement. Maybe their child's failure could be tied to partial loss of public assistance. At present I see an unacceptable number of students and parents that could care less if high school graduation is in the future. Try working as an active volunteer in one of the low performing schools for an extended period of time. I think that you will get your eyes opened to the real issues that are eating our teachers alive everyday as they valiantly strive to create a viable citizenry for the 21st century.

V. Early

Anonymous said...

Taxpayers could save more money by not dishing out charity to contractors like yourself. Why don't you get a real job and stop living off the public dole?

Jeff Bergosh said...

Anonymous 4-5 9:33PM -interesting comment that I will address in short order.

First, however, I must say to Anonymous from Lutz, FL 4-6 11:26 –your boorish comment does not warrant a response as it is nothing but an immature, ignorant, and obtuse ad hominem attack. (go look up what those words mean)

Mr. Early—I like the way your comment starts with a left handed compliment, but then you quickly segueway into a passive aggressive, artistic, well written attack. But, the problem is your assumptions are all out of sorts. First off, Two thirds of the county I represent is rural-very rustic---bucolic. And according to your buddies in the Union, aren’t we all underfunded? Second, I have taught in a public system. I have experience teaching second and third grade—not a whole lot of experience, but I do have some. Also, I’ve been a PTA volunteer for going on a decade, and I’ve mentored underprivileged, at- risk students at title-one schools for a number of years. I’ve coached sports teams, volunteered my time with youth issues like raising money for Boy Scouts, etc. etc. So-you are wrong on three of your assumptions about me, but you do write well. Paying people more money to do what they ought to do is the wrong approach, too. Perhaps it’s four assumptions you get wrong?. We already have every entitlement under the sun for most people that are down on their luck-would another one be the magic bullet that turns the ship—I doubt it.

How about personal responsibility? How about we demand it of our citizenry Mr. Early? But that’s a separate issue from what we are discussing (education reform)—at least it is if you feel you can make a difference in the lives of students in your class no matter what challenges your students face.

Can you?

Anonymous said...

HB 7189 is the wrong answer to a great question. What is it that brings about learning? Surely teacher competence has something to do with it, but then so too does parental involvement. I applaud Mr. Bergosh for being an involved parent. Would that there were many more of them.

However, the idea that learning results are largely up to the teacher is a gross oversimplification. Worse yet, in a state that ranks on the low end of teacher pay (so just how valuable is that tenure anyway?), the legislature proposes to alienate further its professional teachers by treating them like enemies. The assumptions behind this bill are fairly clear. If there is a failure to learn, it is the teacher who failed. Telling the teachers of the state they have failed in the current environment is a great way to destroy completely the already antagonistic relationship between the state and its professional teachers.

Furthermore, the notion that "people shouldn't get paid more to do what they are expected to do" doesn't even work in the private sector. In point of fact, experience does result in raises, because experience is considered to be valuable. Having an experienced employee on the job precludes the necessity of spending time (which is money) on training a new person to do the same job.

Should there be accountability? You bet. Bad or apathetic teachers need to fix their problems or find new employment, but HB 7189 simply is not the way to bring about the right changes. I applaud the good intentions and sincere attempt to make a change for the better that went into this bill, but I think a clearer consideration of the actual implications of the bill force one to the conclusion that at this juncture HB 7189 is the wrong solution.

Anonymous said...

Teachers in Miami-Dade County will be walking out on Monday 4/12/10. Please spread the word and support us.

Anonymous said...

Teachers in Miami-Dade County will be walking out on Monday 4/12/10. Please spread the word and support us.

Anonymous said...

Finally, teachers take action and walk out on 4/12. How can any real conservative support this bill. Obviously, the creation of new standardized tests (probably not norm referenced) will surely reduce government with more forms, storage, legal issues, paper, and of course government clerks to attend to it all. Tough lawmakers who will determine benchmarks that the line worker teachers will be overjoyed to keep satisfied. Do these new teacher incentives also allow access to the company store. Clearly, this bill has been crafted by those who are philosophically opposed to the concept of public education. I fear this legislation will slowly, insidiously, destroy those places that most of experienced as children. Did we all really turn out so bad? Not the people I know. Any child with interested parents can receive a quality education in Florida. Anyone supporting this bill needs to get involved instead of scapegoating teachers for societal ills. This is a smoke screen for lawmakers who are doing relatively nothing to improve your life or promote the general welfare.