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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Jeb-backed teacher tenure bill moves in both chambers, with tight votes



The Jeb-backed, tenure-scrapping SB 2458 cleared its first committee by a bipartisan vote this morning, with three Democrats opposed -- and it cleared a House appropriations committee 12-10, with Republicans Bill Proctor and Faye Culp voting no. 

But the bill's future remains uncertain, given the reservations of Republicans in both chambers. Even some of the Senate R's who voted to move the bill to its next commitee urged sponsor Sen. Thad Altman to fix some of their concerns about what it would cost, plus legal issues and the legislation's possible impact on teacher recruiting.

Senate PreK-12 Committee Chairwoman Nancy Detert, R-Venice, had said she doesn’t dig the bill. And her no vote could have killed it this morning, but she said she "trusts" Altman and believes he will work with stakeholders to improve the proposal as it makes its way forward.

The bill would make it easier for administrators to dismiss teachers without cause, and not just new teachers but those who have been teaching for years. It also would require even tenured teachers to go through a tenure review every 5 years. There is also a provision to give better pay to teachers in Title 1 schools and other more challenging teaching posts.

Patricia Levesque, spokeswoman for Jeb Bush's education foundation, said the bill is vital to ensuring Florida children get the best education possible.

"If even 1 percent of our teachers shouldn't be in the classroom, and let's say they are teaching maybe 50 students, that's 187,500 students sitting in those classrooms," she said.

[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 10:20am]


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