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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

What's next? Collective bargaining?



Florida schoolteachers, be glad your state Constitution guarantees the right to collective bargaining. Teachers in states without that protection soon could find themselves with much less to talk about at the negotiating table.

Governors and lawmakers in states with similar (GOP-leaning) political bents as Florida are looking at tilting the balance of power in school districts much more to the administrative side.

Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels wants to let contract talks include pay and benefits only. The head of Tennessee's Republican Caucus has proposed legislation to abolish collective bargaining altogether, making teachers at-will employees. A few other states are looking at similar ideas, according to Education Week.

Such efforts look to fall in line with some of the key planks of the federal Race to the Top and state initiatives that would put teachers on annual rather than continuing contracts, tie teacher pay to student test scores and prioritize effectiveness over seniority as a consideration for layoff decisions.

In Florida, changing collective bargaining would require a statewide referendum with 60 percent approval. That's a tough nut to crack, as we recently saw with an effort to revise the state's class size rules. Still, some local union leaders tell the Gradebook that they wouldn't put it past some in Tallahassee to try. What do you think?


[Last modified: Monday, February 7, 2011 5:47pm]


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