Monday, March 29, 2010

Once More into the Breach


Tell the Florida House: Stop SB 6/HB 7189

The Senate has rammed through legislation that will have a huge and immediate impact on the quality of classroom instruction, especially for the most at-risk kids. Teaching-to-the-test will be far more rampant, and we'll lose our best teachers. Tell the House to stop this bad bill now.

You can learn all the details about the legislation in this article.

Your Information


* Required information

The Petition

Speaker Larry Cretul
Rep. Will Weatherford, Chair, House Education Policy Council
Rep. John Legg, Chair, House Pre-K-12 Policy Committee

Speaker Cretul, Rep. Weatherford, Rep. Legg, and all members of the Florida House:

The undersigned Floridians urge you not to pass Senate Bill 6 or House Bill 7189. We urge you not to refer it to committees, not to take it up on the floor, and not to allow its provisions to be passed as an amendment to another bill.

While many Floridians agree that we need a better system of accountability, this bill punishes all public school teachers and students, especially those children most at risk. Florida would be the first state in the nation to tie teacher compensation (and job security) so closely to standardized test results. Our kids won't be taught to think...they'll just be taught to pass a test. We don't want our classrooms transformed into test-prep factories.

How will we persuade good teachers to work in low-performing schools where they are needed most when they risk not just losing pay but losing their teaching certificate if those at-risk kids don't make sufficient gains on the test?

This bill also prohibits school districts from increasing the salary of teachers who seek graduate degrees. If we want better teachers, we should give them incentives to continue their training.

This bill takes control of our schools away from local communities, and it will hurt students and teachers. We oppose it and urge you to do the same.

Here's the House roster: copy all. lee

3 comments:

Goader said...

Lee--

I tried to sign the petition but received an error message:

"Method Not Allowed
Error 405"

Keats' said...

I’m a current law student and former high school teacher. I just read HB 7189 and would like to share some lesser known (but very dangerous) aspects of the bill.

Little Known Aspects of HB 7189
-Won't be able to attract teachers from other states because they will have the starting pay of a brand new teacher. Teachers from other states will be labeled "beginning teacher" and will get the same starting pay grade as brand new teachers. Imagine telling a 20 year veteran teacher from New York that her starting salary is $32,000! This will only exacerbate the problem of finding good teachers. Additionally, teachers from other states won't want to move here because of the other general provisions of this bill.
-Restricts the teachers who can teach reading math, science and other critical shortage areas. Must be certified in the area, and cannot even teach out of field temporarily while getting certification in an area. While this *might* be a good idea in math or science, it will make it even more difficult to have enough reading teachers. For example, a principal can no longer assign a English teacher to teach reading , even temporarily, while getting a teacher is getting the additional reading certification.
-Teacher cannot be rehired if students don't make gains in only 2 of 5 years! If, for some reason a teacher's student don't do well enough on a standardized test, the teacher cannot be rehired, no matter how good of a teacher he/she may be. We will lose some good teachers over this. This will make good teachers much less likely to teach high risk students.
-Makes it harder to get rid of bad teachers in first three years. The bill grants tenure protection to all new teachers, meaning that all new teachers may only be removed for "just cause" - which is really hard to do (gross incompetence, felonies, etc.)
-Reduced incentives for administrators. ALL administrators and non-instructional teachers will have 50% of their pay determined by others, the AVERAGE gains of the entire school! This also goes against the entire concept of incentives. What incentive does a non-instructional teacher have to do better, when his pay is affected by how well *OTHER* students do in *OTHER* classrooms do on average!
-Bill contradicts itself on National Board Certification. In one area of the bill it requires that school cannot consider National Board Certification in teacher pay, but then also leaves intact the Dale Hickam Excellent Teaching Program, which gives teachers a 10% bonus for completing National Board Certification. This bill is poorly drafted and poorly thought out.
-Schools are forbidden from financially recognizing a teacher of the year! We've heard a lot about how teachers cannot be recognized for years of service, National Board Certification or graduate degrees. Additionally, school boards are expressly forbidden from providing incentive pay to state or local teachers of the year! Talk about perverse incentives!
-Teacher retention must be based on standardized testing. If school boards have to cut back on teachers, (as many have had to do because of budget cuts) the board must base their decisions primarily on standardized tests scores. Of course, seniority is out the window, but note something even more pernicious--the school board has to ignore its own need for teachers in certain subject areas in the face of standardized test scores. For example, what if a school board has to let go of 10% of its teachers. Let's say that students in math, ESOL or reading on average make less gains per year. Well, then the school board would be forced to let go all the teachers in that critical need subject area who are performing less on standardized tests, while other subject areas have a relevant surplus of teachers. This is just plain bad policy.

Anonymous said...

Lee,

Also getting the error. Let me know where else I can sign up. Or copy and send this message on.

Robert B. Stewart
3801 Allen Road
Zephyrhills, FL 33541
robertstewart55@verizon.net