By Valerie Strauss
The Republican-led Florida legislature is considering education legislation that could alter the school landscape in the state. SB 7070 is an omnibus bill that is loaded with ideas that advocates of public education oppose, including:
- A new voucher program that would spend millions of taxpayer dollars for tens of thousands of students to use at private, mostly religious schools
- Seeks to boost funding for bonuses for teachers in the state — which ranks near the bottom among states for educator pay — rather than give salary hikes.
- Makes it easier for teachers to get certified, a move to help stem a huge educator shortage but one that critics say could lead to unqualified people entering the classroom.
(There are other controversial bills that have been introduced in the legislature as well, including one that was just approved by a House education subcommittee and that would require public high schools to offer elective Bible-study courses. Though its backers say it would not be religious, the sponsor is state Rep. Kimberly Daniels, a Democrat who runs a Christian ministry and who last year led an effort to require public schools to post “In God We Trust” signs.)
In this post, Fed Ingram, Miami-Dade County teacher of the year in 2006, who is now president of the Florida Education Association, writes about what he calls a “silent strike” of teachers, who are simply walking away from Florida. Here’s his piece.