Monday, March 29, 2010

Education in Florida and why I might not be a part of it in the near future

Florida education is in trouble. Everyone knows it. It's not news. What Repulicans in the legislature are trying to do with it now is news.

Governor Charlie Crist and Senator John Thrasher (who wrote the legislation) plan to make teachers' salaries and continued employment based entirely on how their students' perform on standardized tests. These are (the already passed) SB 6 and (the soon to be voted on and expected to pass) HB 7189. Teachers will even have the threat of loosing their teaching certificates if their students don't make the mandated gains. I would make jokes about the legislature getting medieval on us, going back to the policies of the University of Bologna circa 1090 CE, but the details of this legislation make me physically ill and I can't. It's too disgusting and too disheartening. I can't enumerate them all here. Please, go here to see what this is all about. It breaks my heart.

What is clear to me in all this is that I am and what I have to give are not appreciated in this state, not by those who would employ me and not by the parents if they would allow such legislation to go unchallenged. The service that I was hoping to do for my community is not valued. If this legislation passes, it would be impossible for me to teach in public schools in this state. I will not do it. To teach under these conditions would be absurd! There are 49 other states out there and there are many private schools. I will get my teaching certificate, meet those requirements, and then I will take my youthful enthusiasm and desire to inspire young minds and I will go somewhere I will be properly respected for it (at least in the way I'm dealt my salary from my employer, in the way my contract is written, and in the way I can actually gain tenure and have advanced degrees and years of experience mean something to those who employ me - we all know that teachers aren't respected in general... that's why legislation like this is even possible).

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