Gov. Rick Scott gets earful on his eduction listening tour around Florida

2:15 PM, Sep 14, 2012   |    comments
Gov. Rick Scott
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Tallahassee, Florida - Gov. Rick Scott has gotten an earful from teachers and parents on his tour of Florida this week to get feedback on education.

He called it an "education listening tour." But critics said it looked more like a public relations tour touting increased funding for education this year.

Educators told Scott they feel like the state does not support them enough and that has hurt morale. They said the state requires too much testing and puts too much emphasis on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test. Students are too stressed out over testing-mania.

Scott wraps up his listening tour Friday night hosting a dinner at the Governor's Mansion with leaders of the teachers union, which has opposed many of Scott's education reforms.

Florida Education Association spokesman Mark Pudlow says the union welcomes the chance to talk with Scott.

"Coming 20 months into his term, it's better late than never and we hope that it's the start of a series of substantive conversations about the direction we're heading in Florida as far as public education is concerned."

Teachers don't like the governor's push to require pension contributions and they're frustrated by a complicated merit pay system.

Pudlow says a lot of teachers feel underappreciated and disrespected by a one-size-fits-all approach pushed by the state.

"Unfortunately the politicians and the business leaders and some of the folks that have pushed this testing-mania have narrowed the scope of what teachers can do in classrooms and that's a very frustrating thing for them."

Gov. Scott says he wants to take the feedback from his 10-city tour of Florida this week and use it for his legislative agenda next year.

Dave Heller

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