After an hour of debate, the House K-20 Competitiveness Subcommittee voted Tuesday to approve a bill that requires community and state colleges to put new faculty on one-year contracts, effectively eliminating the use of tenure, reports the News Service of Florida. Rep. Erik Fresen, R-Miami, chairman of the committee, said the bill was a response to pleas from community college presidents to change the tenure system. But United Faculty of Florida lobbyist Ed Mitchell said the bill was bad news for college faculty, who would have little academic freedom protections and no reason to teach in Florida versus other states that do offer tenure. Democrats criticized the bill (KCOS 11-03) for removing a long-held practice of rewarding tenure for good performance. Republicans on the committee supported the measure, saying if K-12 teachers won? have tenure, then college faculty should be held to the same standard. The bill was just released late last week and caught many stakeholders by surprise.
Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.