Florida Retirement System

The Assault On Education By Republican Governors And Legislatures: Florida A Prime Example!

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!

Florida And Its Teachers And College Professors: Total Destruction Of Education In The Name Of Governor Rick Scott And The Republican State Legislature!

The state of Florida has always had problems with providing its children and college students with a decent, world class education.

Always unwilling to have a state income tax and desirous of avoiding any tax they can avoid, the state legislature and its Republican Governors since 1999 have bled the public school system dry and refused to recognize that its students, as a result, score terribly on competitive exams in all fields of knowledge, as compared to many states in the rest of the country.

Students too often come to college without any general knowledge base, and are ill prepared to do college work, and the economy offers mostly low wage employment, and promotes an anti labor bias, priding itself on being a “right to work” state, meaning exploitation of workers!

With Florida near the bottom in most statistics educationally, Governor Rick Scott now wishes to bleed over $3 billion out of the state education budget, while providing further tax cuts to the wealthy and the corporate and business world, and therefore, is doing everything possible to punish educators, along with other public servants, including police officers, fire fighters, nurses, social workers, librarians, sanitation workers, prison guards and others.

Regarding education, Scott and his party are working to end tenure, and to use testing that will cost money, that does not exist in the education system, to eliminate experienced teachers whose students do not perform well on state mandated tests, failing to understand that how a student performs is much more based on his or her work habits and parental influences than being in a classroom for a few hours per day!

Also, all state workers will have to take a pay cut, after years of low wages and inadequate pay increases, to pay for their Florida Retirement System pension, plus greater costs for their medical benefits. Sick Leave not used will be forfeited, instead of being paid out at retirement.

And the worst thing of all, particularly involving education, is that after July 1, 2011, when a teacher or professor retires, he or she will NEVER be able to be employed part time at any educational institution covered by the Florida Retirement System, instead of the earlier one month and then one year limitation!

This draconian cut off of talented educators from any ability to teach part time is not only denying talented retirees the opportunity to contribute their skills to the younger generation, and locking them into an inability to pursue their profession and improve their economic status by being able to earn part time income!

It will also create a major educational crisis within a short period, as there will be a rapid depletion of available adjunct professors and teachers, who are particularly the lifeblood of any educational institution at the college and university level!

With growing enrollments expected to continue, how will college administrators and public school administrators be able to staff classrooms and provide education if the pool of available talent is so limited by forced retirement from any involvement with the educational system, simply because one wishes to retire from full time?

This is stupid, asinine policy, which will contribute to the further deterioration of Florida educationally, and will have a tragic economic effect on the future of the Sunshine State, and this all to benefit a small elite of wealthy and business people who could not give a damn about the future of anything other than their own greedy, selfish aggrandizement!

Florida Governor Rick Scott: 30 Days Evaluation Bad Sign For The Future! :(

Florida’s Republican Governor, Rick Scott, who suddenly emerged just nine months ago in politics, after having brought about the greatest Medicare scam ever through his health care company in the mid 1990s, has now been in office one month, and it is not a good sign for the future of Florida politics! ๐Ÿ™

The concept that a corrupt, crooked business executive, who enriched himself on fraud, and yet was able to avoid prison time for his transgressions, could go ahead and spend $73 million of his ill begotten fortune to “buy” the Florida governorship, is enough of an outrage by itself! ๐Ÿ™

But Scott, who overcame the GOP establishment in the state to win the nomination for Governor over Attorney General Bill McCollum, and went on to defeat Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink in the closest gubernatorial election in history (about 50,000 votes), has now shown just how arrogant and destructive he really is! ๐Ÿ™

Scott is setting out to destroy the Florida Retirement System, and is trashing the public servants of Florida, who went into public service understanding the low pay of most public jobs, but were drawn to the FRS as an important benefit that made up for the lack of competitive salaries.

Scott is attempting to force all public employees to take a five percent paycut to contribute toward their pension plans, at a time when there have been no salary increases for a number of years. He also wishes to take other aspects of the FRS away, and make the pension system one of the worst in the nation! ๐Ÿ™

Scott shows no respect for the significance and sacrifice of teachers, police, fire fighters, paramedics, nurses, librarians, prison guards, and all the other public servants who commit themselves to the myriad of jobs that the average Floridian takes for granted.

And Scott is declaring war on the teaching profession, which will only discourage new entries into the profession by young people, and will cause many to leave the field. To blame the teachers for failures of students, rather than place it on inadequate budgets and class sizes, and the essential role of parents and families on children’s learning, is an absolute outrage! ๐Ÿ™

If teachers will not have respect, decent pay and benefits, and the backing of administrators, then we will lose the chance to gain the best young minds to go into our classrooms. Mediocrity will reign, and Florida will fall further back into what one could call a “third world” mentality, one of ignorance and
narrow mindedness! If we condemn and attack our teaching force, we lose the opportunity to gain the “best and the brightest” for the future and to put Florida into the 21st century!

Not only is Scott trying to destroy education, but also he has refused to enforce the Obama Health Care legislation, is sending back federal aid to implement it, and has encouraged legal attacks on the legislation, including the recent declaration by a Florida district court judge that the whole legislation is unconstitutional! Interesting that a former health care executive who engaged in fraud is leading the charge to destroy national health care, not giving a damn about the millions of Floridians and other Americans who have no access to health care! ๐Ÿ™

Beyond all this, Scott refuses to communicate with the news media other than in so called “tweets”, comments no longer than 140 characters. He would rather speak to private groups such as the Tea Party, who he will be addressing privately this coming week about his budget plans. He requires journalists who wish to address him at a public gathering to stand up before asking a question, which he then answers in a few sentences, with no desire to really explain himself in detail. After all, he is the GOVERNOR, and need not be accountable! ๐Ÿ™

His budget plans call for MASSIVE cuts in Medicaid and education, with no possibility of tax increases, even though it will devastate the state, lead to much higher unemployment, and make Florida more backward than ever. And unless his party in the legislature, more than two thirds membership in each house, have the guts to fight him, he will get his way. Realize that many Republicans have their private doubts about this man who refuses to explain himself in detail, and is known as difficult to talk to, even in private, as he thinks he has all the answers! ๐Ÿ™

To top it off, there are now strong rumors that Rick Scott has national ambitions, and not just for 2016, even possibly for 2012! Newspapers in the state and National Public Radio are reporting that Scott hopes to make an impression with his budget, and his stands on the health care legislation, budget cuts, and education, and utilize it as a pretext to seek the Presidential nomination of his party! ๐Ÿ™

A man who should be in prison for his Medicare fraud, who refuses to communicate with the news media, who is arrogant and nasty and dismissive toward his critics, who “bought” the Florida Governorship, seems to have no limits to his ego and ambitions! ๐Ÿ™

This is the man that Florida has to deal with for the next four years at least, unless the whole nation is, somehow, bamboozled to make him our President in 2013. Let’s hope that terrible, nightmarish scenario never comes to be, and that maybe, just maybe, his own party in the Florida legislature may realize how his lack of ethics and belief in obeying the law in his past, may yet lead to such abuses in the state of Florida to warrant them to forget about party loyalty and move to impeach and remove him from office! ๐Ÿ™