Florida Teacher Tenure/SB6 Draws Massive Outcry

Although Florida is not one of two states awarded “Race to the Top” money by the Federal government, the sponsor of controversial legislation in Tallahassee to end teacher tenure and create merit pay says the state can apply for a second round in June. But hundreds of thousands of emails are urging lawmakers to be careful.

Amanda Clodfelter brought a bag of letters with her when she came to the Capitol to protest merit pay and a plan to end teacher tenure. But the bill continues to steam-roll through the Capitol.

Now lawmakers, like Rep. Keith Fitzgerald of Sarasota, are being inundated with perhaps as many as a hundred thousand emails like this one.

“Teachers cannot control the home environment, parents with no language skills. This bill threatens their job, see, it’s not my job, and will hurt the students who depend on them.”

Fitzgerald says many are mass forwarded. Many are not.

“We’re trying to compete for the best nationwide and we’ve made this a hostile climate with this bill.”

Mark Pudlow of The Florida Education Association says the plan to end tenure has teachers and parents motivated.

“There are a lot of teachers in the state of Florida that are really upset about this bill and they’re making their voices heard.”

Despite the massive outcry, the legislation is expected to clear the state house soon. Given the breakneck speed with which this bill is moving through the legislature, the teachers’ only real hope of stopping it may be here.

Governor Charlie Crist says he is predisposed to sign the legislation depending on how the final bill reads. And so far, he is not a target of the email campaign, having received less than 400 of them.

Lawmakers are rushing to pass the bill ending teacher tenure by the end of the week.

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