Sunday, September 24, 2006

Union joins campaign in support of education issues

This effort by a teacher union in Florida sums up the union's agenda nationwide.  Unfortunately, while these four goals sound nice, it's a self-serving agenda that, if implemented, will cost a ton of money and almost certainly yield ABSOLUTELY NO IMPROVEMENT IN STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT.  I've posted a presentation at that rebuts each of these four myths:
a) Smaller class sizes (pages 1-3)
b) Increased funding (pages 4-10)
c) No vouchers (pages 11-22)
d) Raise teacher pay (23-25)
To be clear, I don't think vouchers are a magic bullet, nor am I against smaller classes, more money or raising teacher pay.  In fact, I think all have a role in a thoughtful, broad-based, hard-nosed reform plan (notice that the unions aren't pushing for THIS at all -- they just want more more money poured into their entrenched monopoly, with no strings attached).  The key is that these initiatives have to be part of a such a plan or we'll just be pissing money down a rat hole.  One thing we DO know for sure is that pouring money into a broken system will NOT improve student achievement!

Union joins campaign in support of education issues

By Katherine Lewis, Naples Daily News

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Smaller class sizes for Florida's children. Better funding for public schools. Support for schools in need, not private school vouchers. Competitive wages for teachers and support professionals.

Sound like good ideas to support, right?

That is what the Collier County Education Association, the group that represents 80 percent of the Collier County School District's teachers, hope people think. The group is attempting to collect 20,000 signatures in support of the four issues - called IPledge - to put onto the governor's desk on inauguration day.

"This is a pro-active way for us to say what we think is important in education. We want people to be empowered and get their voices heard," said Katrina Canady, the local coordinator of IPledge and a teacher at Manatee Elementary School.

"If we accomplish our goal, it is 1 million people who said, 'We voted for you. You work for us and this is what we want.'"

The goal of the campaign, which is being coordinated statewide by the Florida Education Association, the state teachers' union, is to get 1 million signatures.

Mark Pudlow, spokesman for the FEA, said the union has done ballot initiatives before but this is a new approach.

"The single-subject rule makes it difficult and ballot initiatives have been ignored by political leaders in the past. We want to appeal to the public directly on this and get public education addressed in this campaign," he said.

"We're going to have a new governor, a new Cabinet. We want to show them, 'Look, we have all these people who support this.'ยค"

Local educator Laura Marzano told a meeting of the CCEA on Tuesday night that she had 41 cards signed at the Palmetto Ridge football game last week. She said she thought the cards were a wonderful way to get the teachers' message out.

"It is an emotional commitment. You are telling the governor that you support education," she said. "We have to have a message that comes from people other than teachers. Everyone is affected by education."

Jonathan Tuttle, executive director of the CCEA, said the pledge is nonpartisan.

"It is a message. We think it is a good enough message to be signed," he said.

Tuttle said the CCEA will ask the Collier County School Board at its meeting today to support teachers' efforts to get the cards signed.

Pudlow said the ballots will be collected into 2007.

"We're hoping to get as much as can get. The million figure is something that has been batted around. Our loose goal is to get that much," he said.

Citizens can support the initiative or get more information on the campaign by visiting or by calling the CCEA at (239) 592-7773.

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