Florida teachers give Rick Scott failing grades on education policy

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Florida public school teachers give Gov. Rick Scott failing grades in education, according to a new poll released Friday.

Scott’s failures are not just because of ideology, they say, but also for his policies over the past four years.

In a survey of 605 teachers who are likely voters, 64 percent support Charlie Crist, with 17 percent for Scott, 4 percent for Libertarian Adrian Wyllie and 14 percent remaining undecided.

One result that might signal trouble for the incumbent: 57 percent of Republican and 91 of Independent teachers report they are either undecided or plan on voting for another candidate for governor.

“The results of this poll confirm what many Floridians already know: Rick Scott has failed Florida’s education system,” said Florida Democratic Party Executive Director Scott Arceneaux in a statement.

As for Scott’s job while in office, 81 percent of respondents hold a negative view of Scott’s performance, 16 percent approve and 3 percent have no opinion.

The poll found the negative view of Scott’s handling of public education crosses party lines and covers every region of the state.

Crist, on the other hand, gets much better ratings from teachers: 64 percent have a positive opinion of the former Republican governor; only 28 percent take a negative view and 9 percent have no opinion.

When asked to give a letter grade to Scott’s strengthening public schools in Florida, 41 percent of teachers surveyed gave him an “F,” followed by 28 percent with a “D.” The remaining 28 percent give Scott passing marks: 20 percent say “C,” 7 percent “B” and only one percent give him an “A.” Three percent had no opinion.

The poll also found that standardized testing remains unpopular with Florida public school teachers; 80 percent say there is too much emphasis on preparing students for state tests, 17 percent say about the right amount of time is spent in preparation. Only 1 percent say not enough time is spent on preparation.

“Our classroom teachers have been on the front lines for four years under this governor,” Arceneaux said. “Scott’s policies of increased standardized testing, larger high school class sizes, and less time for teachers to actually teach in the classroom have unified Florida’s educators in opposition to this failed governor.”

Washington, D.C.-based Hamilton Campaigns conducted telephone interviews October 16-19. The margin of error is +/- 4.7 points, at the 95 percent confidence level.

Teachers Public Release Memo

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.