Thank you Governor Crist for your VETO of State Bill 6 House Bill 7189. I was reading the Orlando Sentinel and I can't believe how arrogant some people are and how they have criticized Governor Crist for being a wise leader. Governor Crist did what many legislators and merit pay advocates have not done. He listened to how many of us considered this legislation drastic, punitive, and overreaching.
All teachers are observed and evaluated yearly, some several times a year and then dismissed, retained, or retrained based on their evaluations. We are constantly being evaluated throughout the year in other ways. We have to study our student's data and focus our teaching to cover the benchmarks our students are weak in and then discuss our data with our supervisor. Next we have to prepare an IPDP which stands for Individual Professional Development Plan which is monitored by our direct administrator. We have to have a pretest and a post test to show student growth. In addition we have professional study groups in which we target specific skills. On a monthly basis we also have Department Meetings which are focused on discussing future plans, team development of lesson plans, and also reading professional books meant to challenge us. Finally we have Professional Study Teams which might target a specific skill or educational event. For example I belong to the 10th grade Write-a-Palooza team which designed and carried out a student exchange for two weeks focused on Essay Writing Skills which last year helped our students raise their writing scores significantly on the FCAT Writes. If your wondering how we fit all that in, well sometimes we have to come in a week early during our "vacation" time, also on Saturdays, and often stay after school. I know my school has got it right. Then why should our job security go out the window?
Frankly, I think there may be teachers who need retraining but very few "bad" teachers. Teachers who have lost their love, patience, or energy for teaching soon enough change jobs, so it really disturbs me how passionately angry some people are against teacher job security when as a whole we are doing a great job in Florida. They must have had one really bad experience somewhere and want to make all teachers pay. How could they think teachers were going to take this legislation lying down?
It really annoys me to think that this legislation almost succeeded without even listening to teachers. Those Florida legislators would do well to listen to what Governor Crist had to say when he said, that the Republican legislators had moved this legislation in the same anti-democratic manner the Health Reform Bill had been passed in Washington, DC. How could they turn around and do exactly what they had so bitterly criticized two weeks before? Someone is not listening to their constituents because believe me there are a lot of Republican teachers who are rethinking their votes for next election. They are going to clean house. If the Democrats show a marked improvement in the elections, they, the Republicans will have only themselves to blame!