Thursday, April 15, 2010

Governor Crist Does 'The Right Thing'

Today, Florida Governor Charlie Crist vetoed the miserable 'education reform bill' known as S.B. 6, or the 'Disappear the Teachers' Bill.'

Click here for the official veto letter.There, he says among other things:
Let me be clear; I veto S.B. 6 because the bill is contrary to my firmly held principle to act in the best interest of the people of Florida. * * * I know it is the right thing to do for the people.
Soon there will be a lot of speculation about the governor's supposed political motives. While we do not doubt politics entered into the calculus, the bill was so very terrible that his specific explanation of some of its more glaring insanities is entirely plausible.

S.B. 6 -- which was endorsed by every local state legislator in Northwest Florida -- almost surely would have caused a precipitous plunge in the quality of public education in the state. In reverse order, Crist singles out --
  • As the bill was being written, state legislators excluded from all "meaningful input" "teachers, parents, superintendents, and school boards." In other words, they didn't want to hear from anyone who knew what they were talking about.
  • The probability that the bill would place "in jeopardy of losing their jobs and teaching certificates" tens of thousands of elementary, middle school, and secondary school teachers "without a clear understanding of how gains will be measured." This bill would have washed a tsunami over the state's school system, leaving little but rubble in its place.
  • The certainty that the bill would have punished excellent teachers along with the inadequate ones for circumstances "beyond the control of the teachers." Good teachers and bad would have been treated alike.
  • The bill would have violated the state constitutional, statutory, and regulatory authority of local school boards with "overreaching...directives" and "requirements" and prohibitions against agreeing to teacher contracts of longer than a year. With its mandate that local boards develop as many as 125 new and different "assessment" tests, it also would have busted the budgets of every school district in the state.
  • The bill imposed "arbitrary percentages" for calculating a teacher's effectiveness" (without any cognizable legislative standards). Only state legislators get to keep their jobs without being scored for "effectiveness."
  • S.B. 6 failed to "appropriately accommodate" special education teachers "and their dedicated teachers."
Governor Crist has done the right thing. While Florida's public education system continues to suffer from the long-time, chronic neglect of the state legislature, at least he has saved it from becoming infinitely worse almost overnight, as was likely had S.B. 6 become law.

Dept. of Related Blogistry

1 comment:

Lori said...

I sent him a thank you letter today for vetoing this. I did not vote for him, but he did the right thing, and I hope others will do the same.