An unbelievable assault on education iand the teaching profession is underway in many states controlled by Republican Governors and legislatures.
It is well known that New Jersey, Ohio and Wisconsin are among the leaders on this assault, but we must now add to the list the Sunshine State, Florida!
Easily the most backward of the states mentioned when it comes to financing and educational results, the Republican legislature and Governor Rick Scott, who was unknown a year ago other than for Medicare fraud, have declared war on education funding and on the teaching profession at all levels!
The legislature has decided to blame the educators for the fact of poor test results in the public schools, and their aim ultimately is to destroy the public schools and promote privatizing of education, including spending inadequate taxpayer money on charter schools, which have so far failed to produce any better results with children.
The reality is that the only way to improve education is the promotion of family responsibility in the education of their offspring. The old saying is that “you can take a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink!” Ultimately, no matter how good a teacher, if the students do not do their homework and take school seriously, the test results on standardized tests cannot magically be good!
But instead, what the Florida legislature and Governor Scott are doing is to cut over $3 billion in funding, while lowering taxes on property owners and corporations, and to hold the teachers totally responsible for good results on testing without any funding to back it up!
Public school teachers are seeing tenure destroyed, losing all the security that teachers had, which helped to make up for the poor salaries. They are being required to take a pay cut to pay for their retirement and health care, and seeing sick leave taken away from them unless they use it, so they cannot get payouts when retired if they avoid using sick leave. The DROP system, in effect since 1998, whereby they and all state employees could save their first five years of retirement money while continuing to work, therefore gaining a lump sum when they finally retire, is being ended for new applicants by June 30, 2011. Everyone will be on one year contracts with no guarantees of keeping their jobs.
Administrators will be able to use nepotism; favoritism; pettiness and personal vendetta; cronyism; age discrimination; racial discrimination; eliminating more expensive employees for younger, less expensive ones; and the ability to dismiss any teacher without just cause! If parents complain about a teacher, the easiest thing is to dismiss them, making teacher retention political, a total disgrace in the profession of education!
And the same treatment is also being dished out to college professors at the state universities and community colleges, showing total lack of respect for scholars and teachers with Masters degrees and Ph. Ds, who already do not make the salaries of lawyers, doctors, and other professionals, but educate all of them, put in years of effort to accomplish their advanced degrees, and now are being treated like “interchangeable parts”, who are to be treated as if they are just ordinary civil servants despite them having the most educational accomplishments of all state employees!
Professors with tenure will now be dismissed without just cause because they have a mouth and speak up on political issues or challenge administrators and their policies! If enough students complain that a professor is too tough on grading standards, that could make him or her a liability in the minds of college administrators, many who went into adminini8stration because they cannot teach anywhere as effectively as many professors! Academic freedom is under attack, and it is certain that many top notch professors at the state universities will leave because of the tremendous decline in work conditions!
Why would any young person wish to sacrifice years of study to become a public school teacher, or even more, a college professor, when there is little respect and dignity paid to him or her for dedicating his or her life to educating our younger generation?
People forget that the truth is those who CAN teach, and those who CAN’T administer teachers! No one has ever been able to show that administrators are anywhere as brainy and intelligent as the people they supervise! Remember the Peter Principle, that says people rise to the level of their INCOMPETENCY!
And now, even more outrageous, is that the Florida Retirement System participants, all of them, including not only teachers and professors, but also police officers, fire fighters, librarians, social workers, nurses, prison guards, and everyone else is to discover that the state legislature is about to declare that once one retires from the Florida Retirement System, they are NEVER to be welcomed back as part time employees in retirement, despite their years of knowledge, experience, expertise, and talents! This is totally insane, and is discrimination against the elderly who wish to work, and will be told they are not welcome back in any capacity!
Regarding teaching, it will create a shortage of substitute teachers at the public school level, and a tremendous shortcoming of adjunct professors at the college and university level, since the only adjuncts available in the long run will be those who are young and new at teaching on the college level, and who are unable to find full time teaching positions! The colleges NEED adjuncts to keep costs down, and if they must hire more full time instructors, it will cost far more than hiring part time professors who are retired and wish to work in their profession beyond their full time jobs!
The Florida legislature, more than two thirds Republican, and our outlaw felon Governor Rick Scott are involved in what can be considered criminal activity against the people of Florida, and the damage they have wrought and will continue to do will put Florida truly into the status of a third world nation!