Teacher protection? Or teacher deception?
Two Tampa Bay area Republican lawmakers -- Rep. Jeff Brandes of St. Petersburg and Rep. Richard Corcoran of New Port Richey -- have put their names to a bill they call the "Teacher Protection Act." They suggest that the legislation would help teachers by offering legal representation by the Attorney General's Office if they are sued over actions done in good faith while at work.
This might sound good. But not to the Florida Education Association, which has blasted the bill as the "Teacher Deception Act."
The FEA contends in its latest legislative update that the promise of legal representation offers nothing new, while the real intent of the proposal is more nefarious:
"The real purpose of the bill (aside from the likelihood that further anti-union measures may be amended onto it) is to allow so-called “professional teacher associations” entry onto school property seeking to represent employees without having to comply with the basic requirements imposed upon other employee organizations which are selected by employees as their representatives. ...
"In an effort to mislead teachers into dropping union membership under the mistaken belief that such “professional teacher associations” will protect their legal rights, these groups are undertaking disruptive actions in school districts."
There's a Senate companion filed by Sen. Steve Wise, Education Pre-K-12 chairman. So far, the House version has gone to one subcommittee. Here's the staff analysis. Stay tuned to see how far this one gets.
UPDATE: The bill narrowly passed the House Civil Justice Subcommittee 8-6 on mostly partisan lines, with just one member -- Republican Mike Weinstein -- crossing over to oppose the measure.