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Teachers Continue Protests Against Changes

March 31st, 2010 by Mike Vasilinda

Massive changes to the way the state employs and pays teachers are steam rolling through the state legislature as teachers are saying stop. Legislation would end tenure as it is known and also create a system of paying teachers based on student performance. As Mike Vasilinda tells us, lawmakers are trying to keep dissent at a minimum.

Pinellas County Science teacher Julie Clark is spending part of her spring break holding protest signs in from of the state Capitol. She is angry and nervous about changes lawmakers are pushing that could change how she will be hired or fired.

Its going to cause me to start teaching to tests because my performance is going to be based on learning gains of students, most of whom I have no control over,” Clark said.

Liz Ballard came on her own from Sarasota. She was button-holing a state senator on the Capitols fourth floor.

Standardized tests that your students take are going to dictate whether or not you have a job or whether or not you get a certain amount of pay and its just scary,” Ballard, a P.E. teacher, said.

The bill was pushed through the Senate before teachers could get organized.

Begun just over two weeks ago, this Facebook page now has over 18 thousand fans.

House members are being told not to allow any changes to the bill once it comes to the House floor.

This meeting for aides to Republican House members was supposed to be closed until our camera showed up. Inside, it was made clear that the House leadership would like to keep the education bill from being changed. That way it would not have to go back to the Senate, and could go directly to the governor.

Its a message Rep. Eric Eisnaugle hasnt gotten yet.

Well, I havent been told that,” Eisnaugle said.

Time is on the teachers side. The longer they have, the more opposition and doubts they can generate. And that is something legislative leaders would like to avoid.

The Governors Office has received more than 400 emails and letters asking him to Nix SB Six.

Posted in Education, Legislature, State Budget, State News | 1 Comment »

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