FEA to Arne Duncan: Tell us what you told Florida education commissioner
If you talked to Florida Education Commissioner Eric J. Smith about Race to the Top, then you should talk to us too, says a letter sent today from Florida Education Association president Andy Ford to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.
Ford says U.S. Department of Education officials who talked to Smith recently about how to improve Florida's application should pass the same information on to key education groups in the state. "The purpose of this briefing would be to ensure that there would be no misunderstandings about the guidance that your agency has or has not offered," he writes.
He adds: "What we are hearing from Commissioner Eric Smith is at odds with what has been reported in the media as far as what Florida would have to do to ensure a successful grant application in the next phase of Race to the Top."
Keep reading for the whole letter:
The Honorable Arne Duncan
LBJ Department of Education Building
Secretary’s Office, 7th Floor
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20202-0001
April 5, 2010
Dear Secretary Duncan:
As president of the Florida Education Association (FEA), the statewide teachers union affiliated with both the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers, I’m writing to tell you we are disappointed that Florida’s Race to the Top application was not as good as it could have been. But we are grateful that there will be a second chance for our state to compete for the federal grant.
It is our understanding that there has been a conversation between the U.S. Department of Education and Florida Education Commissioner Eric Smith about what would improve our chances. We feel very strongly that in order for Florida to be successful in the next round, all of the stakeholders in Florida need to be aware of the same information.
As you know, Florida is poised to pass some very controversial legislation in the next few days. We hope the representatives from your department that Commissioner Smith has been in contact with can make some time in the next 48 hours in order to brief the following: Florida School Boards Association, the Florida Association of District School Superintendents, the FEA, the Florida Parent-Teacher Association, the Chair of the House and Senate Education Committees, the Governor’s Office and the Florida Department of Education. The purpose of this briefing would be to ensure that there would be no misunderstandings about the guidance that your agency has or has not offered.
What we are hearing from Commissioner Eric Smith is at odds with what has been reported in the media as far as what Florida would have to do to ensure a successful grant application in the next phase of Race to the Top.
I urge you to bring everyone in the education community together who wish to see Florida succeed in obtaining the Race to the Top grant, and we urge you to have this briefing within the next day or two.
I appreciate your time and attention to this matter.
Andy Ford, President
Florida Education Association