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Politics

Florida Education Association Trashes Corcoran's 'Anti-Union' Education Bill

February 5, 2018 - 4:00pm

The state’s largest teachers’ union is taking aim at a massive education bill making its way through the Florida House of Representatives, saying the sweeping legislation would “starve” Florida schools and cause students to suffer.

On Monday, the Florida Education Association launched a 30-second digital ad attacking HB 7055, the House’s 200-page omnibus education bill which lays out a number of provisions for the state’s education system.

Among the proposals is a new voucher program for bullied students dubbed the “Hope Scholarship” program, which House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O’Lakes, has made a top priority for the 2018 legislative session. The new voucher would allow bullied children to attend private schools with public funds. 

Republican lawmakers say statistics have found nearly 50,000 incidents of bullying and assault happen every year in Florida schools.

Other portions of HB 7055 would make it more difficult for school districts to eliminate charter schools. Next year’s funding for public schools would also become contingent on lawmakers passing the legislation.

One of the more controversial aspects of the bill directly affects teachers' unions like the FEA, who would be required to maintain a 50 percent membership among total teachers statewide.

According to data from EducationWeek, Florida is home to over 180,000 teachers. Around 137,000 teachers make up the FEA.

The FEA was quick to pounce on HB 7055, criticizing the bill as an attempt to dismantle unions and another “Tallahassee assault on local public schools.”

The clip trashes the Hope Scholarship legislation for wasting taxpayer money, a claim the union has repeatedly made against Corcoran and other Republican lawmakers. 

“His bully bill wastes more money on failed programs while our schools starve and our children suffer,” the narrator says. 

FEA president Joanne McCall called HB 7055 a “monstrosity” and said the teachers’ union would not support the legislation. 

“This...is a clear attempt to destroy our public schools while telling professional educators they simply are not welcome in Florida,” McCall said in a statement. “Today we are asking lawmakers to stand up to Speaker Corcoran and for our children, for our teachers and for our public schools. We are asking them to say ‘enough is enough.'"

Democrats have flocked to FEA’s defense, questioning the rationale behind HB 7055. 

“The ironic approach to this bill is that we are speaking directly to bullies but the real question is why are we bullying those within our educational system?” asked Rep. Kionne McGhee, D-, who called this year’s legislation “HB 7069 on steroids.”

McGhee said the proposal was a “direct torpedo” to unions in Florida who he said “come to the rescue of educators” in Florida.

“Why are we bullying the FEAs of the world?” McGhee said. “We know this bill is problematic, without a question...not a single word inside of this bill is there to assist educational progress.”

State Republicans and the FEA have often been at odds over education policy throughout the years, most recently over the issue of the state’s tax credit scholarship program, which the FEA said unfairly diverted money from public schools.

When it comes to 2018 educational policy, the FEA said it was clear now is the time to remove anti-teacher lawmakers from positions of power. 

“It’s time to drain the swamp,” the narrator says in the ad, seemingly alluding to Corcoran. “And we know just where to begin.”

 

Reach reporter Allison Nielsen by email at allison@sunshinestatenews.com or follow her on Twitter: @AllisonNielsen.


Comments

As an educator I want to point out that Florida Teachers are some of the worst paid teachers in America. Only three other states are paid less. Florida generates a lot of money from tourism. So how can anyone justify the low rate of pay? We make approximately, on average $10,000. less than most teachers in America. How is that fair? Far pay among other reasons is why we need a Union. What happened to our steps and tenure? Governor Scott (The biggest Medicare Scammer in history who is no better than a thief) took them away. I ask why Governor Scott, why?

I believe the new start is to redesign high school courses. Most of the stuff that is taught is useless information to most students. That’s why graduation rates Are around 75%. I have seen plenty of videos from my kids with teachers that don’t care. Don’t bother me and I won’t bother you policy.

So if the politicians supporting this bill that requires 50% of the census of teachers to participate in the union or the union would be dissolved I’m sure would support a bill that requires 50% of a district’s population must vote or there would be no representative elected due to lack of participation.

I am a Union member because I believe in numbers and I believe that we must stick together to support our students. All students deserve the same opportunity for an education and private schools do not guarantee a better or safer education. Lack of funds for public schools hurts everyone. As a professional, a Middle School teacher, we need the support from Adminstration, School boards, local and State Gov't...we need help and support for teachers, students and parents. I am asking you to vote against the newest HB bill to be voted on that requires 50% teachers to participate in unions or they will be dissolved...VOTE NO. THANK YOU

Other portions of HB 7055 would make it more difficult for school districts to eliminate charter schools."........ From the little bit I do know of this bill, this is the only thing I disagree with. Why would we not want our schools to model charter schools? Granted there are some rather shitty ones that are just there to make money, I worked at one last year, but a lot of them have way more potential then curtailing public schooling system.

Vote NO to HB7055.....

Labor Unions have NO business in our Public School Systems ! Historically, over the last half century, Labor Unions have, in a complicit manner, destroyed education, and diminished our entire work force, all across this nation ! What next,..."unionize" the kids?!?!?

Putting blame In the wrong place again. The Unions are not destroying education. Teachers are not destroying education. It’s legislators who are pushing legislation through that they know nothing about. Where’s your education degree? Where’s your certification? Your continuing education credits due every five years to keep your certification? You know, all the hoops teachers jump through to be able to teach your children. You set the standards, now let them teach. Stop tying their hands, stop taking pay away, stop this crazy “horse and pony show” evaluation system that is a waste of time. Lost planning time is what it’s good for. If the Florida Legislature would stop micro-managing teachers and administrators would do their jobs, there are ways to get rid of bad teachers. They’ve been there all along. Granted, I’m sure there are a few sub standard teachers but you don’t demoralize the dedicated ones. You don’t get rid of bullying by putting bullied children in alternative schools. Discipline is a joke in piblic schools today. Ask the students. They’ll tell you. Put the positive changes/money back into public schools. Don’t desert them!!!! It breaks my heart to see what’s happenening. You wonder why we don’t have enough teachers/subs? Think about it!

I totally agree with these comments - I hope those in authority or position to vote/make decisions beneficial to the majority and not personal adgendas.

If you look at what “destroyed” unionized business it is poor management by those responsible for product concepts. The union only required safe working conditions and quality of life issues.

It is a cheap attempt to privatize the school system, syphon off more public money for charters that his wife runs. This azz clown is the picture of conflict of interest. He is the smallest, greasiest scumbag politician in office right now...

Scott is looking to be sure he has income when he’s done. Even if it’s joint income.

It would not just effect the Charters that his wife runs, it would effect all of them. The good ones and The bad ones. One can only hope that The students who get bullied will end up in the good ones. They deserve that much.

Entrusted with our children, every teacher should be considered on a merit system and not have a union negotiate for them. Sorry, but Teachers that are good, should go to the top, those that are bad should be kicked out with no reservation. Those that are mediocre should get good or get out. You should be able to trust that when you release your child to a school system it is only hiring and keeping the best. It is not rocket science, why pay the same price for a lousy teacher as a good one? Would you pick you auto mechanic that way? Would you pick your doctor that way? I am not "Anti-Union" I am pro-Student and with the Teachers organized as a union only the best cannot be achieved.

What an ignorant comment! You obviously are clueless!

You obviously don’t understand what being an educator means because you cannot compare an auto mechanic’s skills to that of a teacher. A car is not a living, breathing human who can either listen and learn or choose to sit back and do nothing despite all the “interventions” a teacher does to try to help them learn. You can be an amazing teacher but any given day/month/year, you can have students who will do nothing more than disrupt the learning process. Many parents don’t teach them to be respectful and learn and schools are not enforcing it but alas, let’s blame the teachers!!!!

I am not a teacher, most employees would not stay in their position if they went through the review processes that teachers do. Ratings are Needs improvement, Effective and Highly Effective - paid based on that as mandated by state. Listening rhetoric- why don’t you sub for a few days.

Unions do not guarantee that employees can’t be fired it only guarantees if due process.

I think it has more to do with how the school system is ran and how our teachers themselves are educated. Speaking from my own experience as a former student, a few of the teachers I had were not trained in the subjects they were teaching, and even more the teachers are being forced to teach a certain way they that were not even taught to teach. Look at common core, at its basis it is not at all as bad as you would think, but the main problem stems from the teachers not understanding it themselves.

What business is it for the Florida Legislature to stick it's nose into a union. The money is paid for by the teachers. Republicans are total hypocrites in that they do not apply this rule to police and fire unions.

Teachers have been wasting their money paying for UNIONS ! "Those that can't DO,..teach; Those that can't TEACH,..teach gym; Those that can't teach gym,.. become Union Representatives. Who needs Unions in a "Right To Work" State??? Teachers, competent teachers, need a TRUE MERIT SYSTEM "leg up"... the rest need job applications for supermarket cashier positions !

What a load of crap you just spewed out. I'm a teacher. I'm even a gym teacher. I guarantee I can beat you in any test you want to take. Merit systems might work for people whose primary focus is on money. Obviously teachers didn't choose their vocation based on salary. They chose it because they want to help young people. When you figure out a way to accurately evaluate the job a teacher does, then we can talk merit. It's people like you that send kids to us who don't respect anything and hurt the education of all the other students around them.

What a truly mean spirited and bitter person

What business is it for the Florida Legislature to stick it's nose into a union. The money is paid for by the teachers. Republicans are total hypocrites in that they do not apply this rule to police and fire unions.

Comments are now closed.

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