Matt Gaetz: ‘Tenure is an immoral concept’

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Think what you will about my man Representative Matt Gaetz, but at least he usually has something interesting to say. He’s almost like the north Florida version of Darryl Rouson; that is, if Rouson was a brilliant arch-conservative. 

Yesterday, Gaetz attended a luncheon hosted by the League of Women Voters of Okaloosa County at the Fort Walton Yacht Club. There, he previewed some of the items on his agenda for the upcoming legislative session. Perhaps most interesting were Gaetz comments on the FCAT and teacher tenure:

Gaetz, “an unapologetic supporter of FCAT,” debated school testing and teacher tenure with a couple of former educators in the audience.

One of them, Pat Burrough, said she couldn’t understand why the state would authorize an exam like Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test that she contended focused only on math and reading.

“I never saw it as a real good test for students,” Burrough said.

Gaetz predicted that legislation will trend more this year toward “de-emphasizing portions of the FCAT people find troublesome.”

The move in education, he said, would be “more toward end-of-course” testing.

“We shouldn’t take the scoreboard down in the classroom,” and a competitive world demands measurable standards for students, he said.

Gaetz called teacher tenure “an immoral concept.” He said he favors removing teachers found to be “chronically underperforming” after a period of three years.

“Too often we allow teachers who shouldn’t be there to stay in the classroom,” he said.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, 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.