Rep. Weatherford to teachers: Let's work together
In the days after the Florida Education Association blasted Florida's preparations to seek federal Race to the Top funds, state Rep. Will Weatherford went on the offensive against what he termed the FEA's unsurprising "business of resisting innovative education reforms."
Weatherford's opinion appeared in several Florida newspapers and angered teachers, who suggested — sometimes nicely, sometimes less so — that the young businessman who chairs the House Education Policy Council should know more before he speaks.
Weatherford is not retreating, though.
In fact, he tells the Gradebook that he's encouraged by the detailed and passionate comments he has seen. Perhaps, he said, this will lead to a better reform package as the sides hammer out their positions.
But that has to happen together.
"This is not me trying to take on the union. I want to work with them," Weatherford said. "It's not a personal thing. It's a big issue worthy of having serious thought and disagreement over."
Sensing revolt among teachers, the Florida Department of Education has clarified that local teacher union leaders need not sign the memorandum of understanding due next week in order to have districts participate in the Race to the Top. Superintendent and board chairman signatures will suffice.
Still, the goal is to get everyone on board so whatever changes that come have the needed support.
Anyone see that coming?