Monday, January 11, 2010

Florida teachers union trying to block $700M in federal education grants

A great Op Ed in the Orlando Sentinel, blasting the state union for jeopardizing the state's chances for RttT money:

Mike Thomas


Orlando Sentinel, December 21, 2009,0,5872749.column 


When schools faced a budgetary evisceration this year, the Florida Education Association — the state teachers union — pressed for a penny increase in the sales tax.

"We need to invest in our public schools," said FEA President Andy Ford.

The penny didn't come. And now the budget picture is even bleaker, with schools facing an additional shortfall of $515 million — a figure expected to grow as property-tax revenues plunge.

Confronted with this, you might think the FEA would latch on to every available dime.

Instead, the union is trying to block the state from getting up to $700 million in federal education grants.

What's up with that, Andy?

This is more unbelievable than Dumbo turning down peanuts.

It is unfathomable, unacceptable and politically suicidal.

The union's opposition is based on the unavoidable strings that come attached to federal dollars. Only this time, they are good strings.

The feds are demanding education reforms, chief among them a requirement that states jack up the quality of their teachers. Study after study shows that teachers, more than any other variable, dictate the quality of education.

The union thinks good teachers come from tenure protections, equal pay for unequal work and not holding teachers accountable for their students' performance.

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