Monday, February 14, 2011

Regarding Tenure

Posted For

Sandra in Brevard

In the month of January, Grumpyelder published eight blogs I wrote on education reform efforts in Florida. He has graciously opened a branch of the main site that holds all of those blogs. My hope is that these blogs serve to inform the Brevard community on this year's efforts on so-called education reform. I have attempted to tell a complicated story in manageable chunks of information, identifying the key players, their beliefs, factual information, the legislative process, often used terms and what they mean. If you've missed a blog or wish to read one again, you can find them here.

What works in D.C., Miami, or Singapore, may not work in Brevard County. The term tenure fires up emotions. I believed there was tenure in Florida until a comment was posted saying otherwise. I was surprised at the comment, arched an eyebrow, and went looking for facts. Well, the fact is here is no tenure in Florida and the practice was ended through legislation in the mid-1980's. I notice that when legislators talk about tenure now, they qualify it with "or what we call a professional contract." Currently, after successfully completing new teacher requirements, teachers are offered a three-year contract that can be broken under specific circumstances stated in law. SB736 would remove three-year professional contracts and any assurances of a job the following year. New evaluation systems, 50% based on student achievement scores, would determine whether a teacher would be offered employment again, or not. The manner in which the other 50% of teacher evaluation is not clear to me, but you might want to watch the video on the new site. Teachscape is a U.S. company ready to sell video systems to school districts.

Since salaries are varied and higher in other areas of the State, how will elimination of a professional contract help Brevard keep the competitive edge to attract, hire, and retain highly prepared and effective teachers? If local school districts want to be able to offer a professional contract, then that should be a local decision and not directed from Tallahassee or Washington D.C


Last year at the Wickham Park Tea Party they announced the Charlie Crist had vetoed SB 6.  A huge cheer went up, maybe for the wrong reasons but Crist had done something right.  At the time I wished Sandra had been there to hear it.  Just like she's working this year to let us know the truth about SB736 she had exposed dozens of problems with SB6. Not the least of which was potentially billions of dollars in unfunded mandates that would have been passed down to local districts in order to pay for an experiment.  An experiment that had an unknown cost and countless foreseeable unintended consequences,

This year all the same players in Tallahassee are back,  pushing a variation of the same scheme   As many of you know, Sandra has done a considerable amount of research on this years version.  Everytime she posts a new blog we find something else to dislike about the bill.  Eveything from data Mining our kids,  forcing teachers to teach to tests instead of teaching a subject and putting our teachers under constant video surveilence.  Not surprisingly, the bill is being written by special interests who stand to sell Florida School Districts billions of dollars worth of products if it passes.  So far no one is willing to guess how much this will cost... But they want to make law 

The information Sandra has been putting together will a tremendous asset for people who want to know how much were spending and what we'll get out of it, before we're stuck with something that might or might nor work.


  1. Just a reminder for people who don't live in Florida.. The same lobbyists who are trying to to get their products written into Florida Law are busy in your state as well.

    If they can find coopertive legislators in Tally Florida, the odds are they can find some in yours as well. Legislator quick to pass the laws that make you spend the money, but very slow to let anyone know what it will cost.

    SB736 has more to do with spending Taxpayer money than it does improving teacher standards.

  2. Anonymous, Off topic spam is not tolerated on this site. Especially from an IP address that's be used previously to spam this site and make numerous personal attacts against Grumpy Members. The bagger term is not going to be tolerated either. Keep your comments clean and on topic or they will be deleted.

  3. Thanks for the reminder about last year's rejection of SB6 by the state's Tea Party officials. Essentially SB736 is the same as SB6 - unfunded mandate, grabbing at local control, and "fiscal impact indeterminate." The Tea Party is silent this year so far. Why????

  4. Most likely they're watching for the moment..

  5. You've also got to remember the TEA Party isn't an organization as such... It's more a umbrella name for hundreds of little groups... nost of the posters here are more TEA Party Independents than they are Democrat or Republican. They want to put an end to exactly the type of government excess you're fighting here.

  6. Now as quiet as you may think. Certain fights require some stealth.

  7. Capt BE: This is high stakes for the political establishment in Florida. So far the House says it did not want to sponsor SB736, they wanted to do their own thing. Whatever that "thing" is, it hasn't emerged. I predict things are going to heat up soon and I predict SB736 will pass the Senate - too many forces at its back. SO I hope stealth includes moving like a speeding bullet. Time is flying.

  8. Indeed time is flying...The groups I have been monitoring are picking battles that they are winning. the Tampa taking a backseat at the moment...sadly. I keep poking at them..and it is the little pokes that sometimes gets the ball rolling.

    Guess I need to do some more poking.

  9. Capt BE: Please do and thank you.
    See new blog on Appropriations subcommittee, where some members voiced concerns about money, but sent it on to the Budget committee which meets on the 23rd. The fiscal impact field in the recent legislative analyses, has been revised, but woefully incomplete. They removed "indeterminate" but failed to address local cost impact related to implementation. I am watching for the House bill. Few newspapers cover this. Just like last year. I just follow along at


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