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Andy Ford

Labor Day Weekend, brought to you by these Florida lobbyists and political organizations

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Amid the parades and barbecues the meaning of Labor Day often gets lost on contemporary Americans, particularly in Florida, where unions scarcely carry political or cultural clout outside of Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties. But as we celebrate the holiday, let’s take a moment to honor those who persevered through both dangerous working conditions and violent hostility from robber barons and Pinkerton agents in order to bring us the abolition of child labor, the minimum wage, and the 40-hour work week —…

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Today on Context Florida: New constitutional amendment, childhood poverty and healthcare costs

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Today on Context Florida: After several months of cooking, Peter Schorsch says a new proposed amendment to Florida’s constitution popped up this week. What is it? It’s a mouthful and is called, “All Voters Vote in Top Two Primary Elections for Congress, State Legislature, Governor, and Cabinet” and it basically changes the rules for how elections are conducted in Florida. When Andy Ford first began his teaching career it was in an inner city school where extreme poverty permeated nearly every…

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Appeals Court dismisses Florida teachers evaluation law challenge, union frustrated

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Florida’s teachers union expressed frustration with another legal loss in the attempt to overturn a 2011 law setting guidelines for teacher evaluations. In a statement, Florida Education Association (FEA) President Andy Ford addressed Tuesday’s decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit in Atlanta. The court upheld the dismissal of a challenge to Senate Bill 736, a 2011 law that based teacher evaluations on test scores of either students they don’t teach or subjects that they don’t…

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FEA president praises budget as ‘step forward’ for public schools, says further work needed

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Florida Education Association President Andy Ford hailed the newly passed $78.8 billion budget as a “step forward” in properly funding the state’s public education. But more work is needed, he cautioned. Florida lawmakers finished the overtime marathon session after 6 p.m. Friday after both chambers passed a budget that sat on lawmakers’ desks for 72 hours. The Senate passed the plan unanimously and the House by a 96-17 vote. The budget includes a $780 million increase for public schools. Ford, who…

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Email insights: When budget money flows again, FEA will be first in line

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When Florida’s legislative session began in March, there were high expectations, especially for education and healthcare. But by session’s end, that optimism was long gone, says Florida Education Association President Andy Ford. Now that budget talks are set to resume, and lawmakers prepare for a special session June 1, there is still one last chance for redemption. More spending for education is the obvious choice, at least in the eyes of the state’s largest teachers’ union. And when the money…

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Key plaintiff pulls out of voucher lawsuit

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The Florida Association of School Administrators — a major plaintiff and arguably the least overtly political — has pulled out of a lawsuit challenging the legality of Florida’s corporate tax credit scholarship program. “Following a full review of priorities, the Board made the decision to focus resources on FASA’s main objective -– to ensure that the quality of administrative leadership within our schools continues to make Florida’s graduates competitive worldwide,” said FASA executive director Juhan Mixon in a statement Friday. “Having made…

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House Education Committee talks school accountability reform

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The House Education Committee spent about an hour Monday discussing and approving an overhaul of Florida’s testing-focused school accountability program. The measure was approved on a unanimous vote. Read a staff analysis here. Chair Marlene O’Toole said last week she wanted to get the measure to the floor as quickly as possible and Monday committee members backed their chair and moved the proposal along. Representatives of the hospitality industry had couched their objections to a potentially earlier start date for…

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