Teachers Rally Against Senate Bill 6

By: Vanessa Nguyen Email
By: Vanessa Nguyen Email

Senate Bill 6, which would strip all Florida teachers of tenure and pay them based on their students' performance, could be the most contentious piece of legislation to come out of this session.
A large number of local teachers were out at the busiest intersection in town this afternoon, letting people know they're not happy about the bill.

NewsChannel 7's Vanessa Nguyen joins us live for the corner of 77 and 23rd where this afternoon's protest just wrapped-up.

The rally is finishing up now but as you can see behind me, there are still some people here.
Most of them wore red shirts to symbolize how they are "seeing red" with Senate Bill 6.

The teachers were here to remind everyone how they have worked hard to make Bay County an 'A' district school system.
But their efforts may mean very little with the way Senate Bill 6 is written.
The controversial bill would eliminate tenure by strictly basing merit pay on student performance.
Right now teachers' salaries are based on factors like their college degrees and years of experience.
Senate Bill 6 could cause some teachers to lose their certification and jobs and if they don't receive good performance evaluations.
We talked to a few teachers who were strongly opposed to it.

Arnold High School teacher Alexis Underwood says, "I worry that it sets an unreasonable standard that teacher need to measure up to. I worry that it puts a responsibility for my job performance on the shoulders of my students. My job responsibility is my responsibility, it shouldn't be the weight on the Freshmen and Sophomores in my room that are trying to pass a reading test."

Rosenwald teacher Michael Petty says, "One of the biggest reasons I've had gains in my classroom is because I know my students. I had some of them last year or I knew them on campus years before and without continuity from one year to the next you don't have the benefit of those relationships with the students. Getting to know the parents, getting to know other teachers you work with. Without those relationships students performance will go down. It's guaranteed it will go down."

Supporters of Senate Bill 6 say it would actually motivate teachers more to help their students succeed in the classroom.

The Senate passed this bill on Wednesday morning but legislators say they plan to make changes to it.


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