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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Next up: Collective bargaining?



Florida didn't win the Fordham Institution's Education Reform Idol contest to be the "reformiest" state of 2011. 

The business-friendly Sunshine State News checked out the event, and suggests it comes down to contract negotiations:

"Florida, a perennial leader in school innovation since Gov. Jeb Bush launched reforms in 1999, pushed ahead in 2011 when the Legislature abolished tenure for newly hired teachers, established a performance-based pay system, provided additional pay for high-need subject areas and at-risk schools, and further expanded charter schools and digital learning.

"But the failure by Gov. Rick Scott and lawmakers to address collective bargaining in public schools appeared to set Florida back, as Indiana, Ohio and Wisconsin all confronted their politically powerful teacher unions this year."

The online report then quotes Patricia Levesque, director of Jeb Bush's education foundation and adviser to Gov. Rick Scott, as offering this: "We'll tackle collective bargaining next year."

It's no secret that Gov. Scott has no love for collective bargaining. He said so much in February.

But it would take more than the governor and Legislature to pull a Wisconsin here in Florida. Collective bargaining is embedded in the Florida constitution, which means 60 percent of voters would have to agree to eliminate it. Looks like that conversation might come soon. Maybe someone will look to alter the next line, too -- the one that prohibits public employees from striking.

[Last modified: Friday, August 12, 2011 11:19am]


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