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
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.