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Pinellas educators to protest SB 6 on Thursday

in Statewide/The Bay and the 'Burg by

From the PCTA newsletter: Welcome back from Spring Break – now it’ss time to roll up our sleeves! The fight over proposed legislation that would change the way we are evaluated, contracted and paid is far from over. SB 6 and HB 7189 would require that all of Florida’s teachers be assigned, compensated, certified and terminated based on student test scores. Thanks to you, the pressure you have generated through thousands of emails, letters and calls these past few weeks has nerves in the Capitol frayed. Now is not the time to rest.

The Florida House Education Policy Council meets Monday, April 5th, in an eight hour hearing for opponents and supporters to have the opportunity to testify on the merits of HB 7189. We anticipate HB 7189 being discussed on the full House floor as early as Thursday, April 8th. If it passes the House as quickly as it passed the Senate, it’s on to Gov. Charlie Crist, who is locked in a nasty primary. Gov. Crist has indicated that he intends to sign this legislation.

On Thursday, April 8th, we need every educator and friend of public education to join us at one of three key intersections located in Pinellas County between the hours of 4:30 – 6:30 p.m. Wear RED and display a teacher made sign asking Gov. Crist to Veto 6, Keep the Promise, Make Our Schools A Priority, Protect Local Control, etc.

Join us at one of these locations:

* corner of N. McMullen Booth Rd. and State Road 580, Clearwater

* corner of Ulmerton Road and 66th Street, Largo

* corner of Tyrone Blvd. and 66th Street, St. Petersburg

This demonstration will take the place of our regularly scheduled regional meetings on Thursday.

Teachers are not making this a partisan issue. An FEA poll released on April 2nd confirms our widespread belief that this is not a partisan issue, at least not when you ask citizens at home. A statewide survey of 600 registered Republican voters revealed, “Nearly three-quarters of voters believe we should keep the current system of evaluating teachers,” said David Beattie, the pollster who conducted the survey. “Across the board, voters are less likely to support the reforms upon hearing, ‘It takes away power of local school districts to make decisions and give it to the state Legislature.’ ” We know local control is important, especially in Pinellas where we asked local citizens to raise their property taxes to support public school programs and teacher salaries. And when they knew their tax dollars would stay right here in Pinellas under local control, they passed the tax referendum by an overwhelming majority, not once, but twice, in 2004 and 2008 – in an anti-tax climate!

Without pressure from local communities and taxpayers, GOP lawmakers have said they will push this legislation through without changes. We cannot allow this to happen. Join us Thursday. We kept our promise, now it is time for legislators to keep theirs!

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.

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