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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Gov. Charlie Crist vetoes Senate Bill 6



Florida Gov. Charlie Crist just announced he is vetoing Senate Bill 6, the controversial legislation backed by former Gov. Jeb Bush that would have dramatically overhauled how Florida teachers are paid, evaluated, contracted and certified. The bill would have strongly tied teacher pay to student tests scores and made it easier to fire bad teachers. But it drew a frenzy of protest from teachers, school boards and superintendents who said it was too much, too fast, with too little funding and too many unanswered questions. "I say we must start over," Crist said. Read more here.

Here's some immediation local reaction:

From Pinellas superintendent Julie Janssen: "It's almost like that old saying, 'It's not what you say, it's how you say it,' " Janssen told the Gradebook. "We could have accomplished so much and had a bill that was workable if any type of reaching out to those of us in the profession had been done."

From Pinellas teachers union president Kim Black: "One thing went our way. Finally, one thing," she said. "It's something for teachers to be proud of. Somebody is listening, despite what many people up here think."

From Hillsborough teachers union president Jean Clements: "It was a great sense of relief, and also a great sense of challenging work ahead of us," she said. "This is not the end of reform in Florida. This is just a do-over. I think the governor is very wise to point out that this went through quickly, without input from teachers, from parents ... This was the wrong way to do reform. (But) I don't think that the governor is saying that reform is wrong."

From Pasco teachers union president Lynne Webb: "I think (Crist) was basically giving them a spanking, saying, 'That's not how you go about getting reform.' "

Here's reaction from other Senate Bill 6 opponents:

From FEA president Andy Ford: “We’re thankful that the governor realized what some lawmakers wouldn’t,” Ford said in a written statement. “SB 6 was formulated without an ounce of input from anyone within the public school community. Teachers, administrators and parents weren’t consulted and their views of this radical legislation were dismissed repeatedly by many legislators. But Governor Crist listened.”

From Rep. Janet Long, D-Seminole: “Significant bipartisan-backed ideas for improving the legislation were proposed and were flatly rejected for political purposes. The decision of Republican legislative leaders to ignore widespread pleas to fix the legislation represents the height of arrogance. I am not one who subscribes to the view that somehow state legislators know more than Florida educators know about educating our students.”

From Pinellas school board member (and state senate candidate) Nina Hayden: "I am very pleased our governor had the courage necessary to veto this very bad bill. It was well noted the speed in which this bill was passed did not allow for meaningful input and passage of good amendments. I hope this is a good lesson learned by our lawmakers to allow for bipartisan input to create the best bills possible. I thank the governor for teaching us all a lesson in good governance."

From Florida Democratic Party chairwoman Karen Thurman: "Today's veto of SB6 shows why Floridians need to elect Alex Sink as our next governor. She will be a check on the Legislature's attempts to gut local control, bully Florida's teachers, and hurt the students of our state. Floridians should visit to find out how they can help Alex today."

From Fund Education Now: "Today is a victory for our children and public education in the state of
Florida. Today one of our elected officials did the right thing. He listened. Governor Charlie Crist chose to listen to hundreds of thousands of us who asked him to veto Senate Bill 6. Today, he did just that. All of us, Republicans, Democrats and Independents can take credit for this veto."

From Senate Democratic Leader Al Lawson: "With the governor delivering the fatal blow, we hope a powerful message resonates long after this legislative session ends: Those who ignore the good of the people to serve a political master do so at their peril.”

From House Democratic Leader Franklin Sands: “It is refreshing that our governor listened and responded to the voices of the majority of Floridians who opposed this radical bill. Floridians’ cries of opposition were ignored by Republican legislative leaders who tried to ram down our throats this unconstitutional, flawed and mean-spirited bill."

From AFT President Randi Weingarten: "This legislation was divisive and flawed. It was pushed through the state Legislature over the objections of parents and teachers, and sought to turn public education into an ideological petri dish to test ill-conceived experiments."

From NEA President Dennis Van Roekel: “It was especially heartening to see all members of the community joining together to fight such drastic legislation. Parents, teachers, students, community leaders, Republicans, Democrats—we all worked side by side to defeat this harmful law."


[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 10:58am]


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