05/04/2010

Florida Affiliate Thanks Governor for Taking Tough Stand

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The Florida Education Association is taking to the airwaves to thank Gov. Charlie Crist for bucking the party establishment and letting the voices of parents, teachers and the community guide his actions in a recent statehouse brawl over one of the worst state education bills to hit the legislative landscape in many years.

The AFT state affiliate is airing TV ads thanking Crist for his veto of SB 6, a controversial Florida bill that would have sacrificed bedrock teacher rights to a test-based evaluation system that was as ill-defined and punitive as it was politically expedient. The bill was introduced by the head of the state Republican Party and rammed through both houses of the Florida Legislature in a matter of weeks, with no input from parents, teachers, administrators or the research community. It took a well-considered veto by Crist—who took the time to travel the state and engage parents and teachers in a discussion about SB 6 and its potential to wreak havoc on Florida public schools—to keep the scheme from turning into law.

"It took courage for Gov. Crist to veto a bill that was such a priority in his party," said FEA president Andy Ford, who is also an AFT vice president. "But the governor listened to the overwhelming outcry from the public in opposition to this measure. By vetoing the bill, he's giving those who care deeply about our schools and dedicate their lives to educating our children a fresh chance to offer our ideas."

The FEA sponsored two ads on behalf of parents, teachers and students. The first ran in late April and the second is airing statewide this week. [Mike Rose, Florida Education Association]

May 4, 2010