Teachers protest to Charlie Crist about Senate Bill 6

5:35 PM, Mar 22, 2010   |    comments
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Spring Hill, Florida -- A Pasco teachers union is protesting several bills that could impact how they are evaluated on their jobs.

The teachers came to protest about several bills floating through the legislature, but Senate Bill 6 has their immediate attention.

"It's kind of trying to limit everything that teachers can accomplish for a few bad teachers, versus all the good teachers we actually have in the state," said Jason Neuman, a teacher in Pasco County.

The teachers are protesting because they say if this bill is passed, it could impact more than fifty percent of their job evaluations and cut their salaries by half. All of this based on scores from a test like the FCAT.

"We need test scores, but it can't be the only measure of our success. Because something a teacher did might impact you 18 years later and that might be what career you choose," said Matthew Goldrick, a vice president with the United School Employees of Pasco County.

The United School Employees of Pasco County, and teachers from other Bay area counties, made a statement to Governor Charlie Crist, who was in town for a fundraiser.

"I've dedicated my life to the children of Florida and to take away our retirement is not fair. It's like pulling the rug from right under you," said one teacher from Pasco County.

The Governor responded to her concerns about House bill 1319, which will change retirement for public employees.

"If it gets to my desk, I will veto that bill," said Governor Charlie Crist.

Crist said that education is a big priority during these tough economic times. "This is only the third week of the session. We're going to have time to review all of these bills, but I want to make sure teachers get what they deserve and students do as well," he said.

The 61-page bill also would require school districts to implement final exams for grade levels or courses not covered by the FCAT.

The Florida Education Association says the bill would reduce school districts' abilities to make decisions on the local level, by replacing those decisions by a one-size-fits-all plan mandated in Tallahassee.

Melvin Beal, 10 Connects

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