Senator Eleanor Sobel (D-Hollywood) sent the following letter to Gov. Crist this morning, asking him to veto SB6:
April 12, 2010
Office of Governor Charlie Crist
State of Florida
400 S. Monroe St.
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0001
Dear Governor Crist:
I respectfully request that you veto Senate Bill 6 – Relating to Educational Personnel. As a public servant for more than 17 years, and as a teacher by trade—with advanced degrees—I am strongly concerned this legislation will negatively affect the teaching profession. I ask you to exercise your veto power because I truly believe SB 6 would demoralize an entire profession, undermine an already underfunded public education system, and further damage Florida’s already poor national reputation in education.
SB 6 is destructive on several levels. I was shocked to learn that this legislation would remove experience, formal training and post graduate degrees as factors when establishing a teacher’s compensation. What message are we sending to our children by not rewarding their teachers for seeking more education, or relocating here after gaining experience teaching in other states?
Furthermore, I find upsetting and insulting the purpose of this legislation to evaluate a teacher’s worth based on “learning gains.” Bill supporters have freely admitted they are not sure how we can reasonably assess “learning gains” in every classroom, especially special education classrooms. This radical method of basing a teacher’s performance on a student’s evaluation also does not include issues beyond a teacher’s control as a student’s socioeconomic status, unusual family circumstances or natural disasters. We cannot treat every teacher in every school with the same “one size fits all.”
In addition, in every profession, experience, knowledge and previous success are used to evaluate and compensate an employee. This bill purports to treat education like any other business, yet perversely fails to offer working conditions every business owner knows are necessary for recruiting the best and brightest employees: competitive salaries and job security.
I am asking for you to veto SB 6 on behalf of my constituents, as well as all parents, teachers, and students throughout Florida. This bill clearly does not take into account the day-to-day realities of what it means to be a classroom teacher, and the proposed reforms are meaningless due to the lack of substantial empirical data supporting the assertions of the bill’s proponents. Our state should not make our most precious resource—our children—the subject of a wide-scale experiment.
For all of the above reasons, I have no doubt that your conscience will steer you to act in the best interests of Floridians by vetoing this bill.
With Best Regards,