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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Public school supporters to wear red on Tuesday

By Cara Fitzpatrick

Want to show your support for public schools when Gov.-elect Rick Scott is sworn in Tuesday? Wear red.

That’s the message that popped up today on several Facebook pages popular with education advocates. A Jacksonville teacher posted the request on Testing is Not Teaching, Root for Education and Stop Senate Bill 6 to ask parents, teachers and taxpayers to wear red Tuesday in “support of public schools.”

The simple request got an enthusiastic response on Stop Senate Bill 6. Within three hours of the post going up, 30 people had “liked” the status and the page’s administrators set it up as an official event.
The teacher, Donna Yates Mace, said she took the idea from a national education group, Save Our Schools Million Teacher March, which often asks teachers to wear red in support of public schools on designated days. A message also went up on that group’s Facebook page.

Union leaders in Broward and Palm Beach counties said they hadn’t heard about the grassroots effort. But they already have concerns about some of the proposals coming out of Scott’s education transition team.

Scott’s team, which includes hard-charging school reformer Michelle Rhee (who sparked controversy by firing so-called ineffective teachers) has recommended expanding school voucher programs and eliminating certain teacher benefits like tenure. They also suggested creating “education savings accounts,” which would give parents up to 85 percent of the amount spent per student in public school to use for private school, virtual schools, tutoring or even college savings.

Union leaders have said the plan will take money away from public schools.

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