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Friday, February 25, 2011

Steven Wise is no friend of Education

Steven Wise is no friend of education

Let me tell you about the months of coloration and input on the bill that Wise seems so proud of. It was the equivalent of forcing a four year old who has no love for vegetables to choose between squash and lima beans. I use a four year old in my analogy because the legislature has chosen to treat teachers like children. These same teachers when testifying who were overwhelmingly against the bill were filed in one after another only to be dismissed while another NFOE Michelle Rhee was given rock star treatment. John Thrasher perhaps the biggest NFOE around even cut off testimony, saying how many times can I hear the same thing; so much for democracy at work.

Wise says people are against teachers having tenure, well I bet they are against teachers losing their right of due process, which is what they actually have even more. He says they are for merit pay, well who isn’t, except education isn’t as simple as, fire bad teachers reward excellent ones. Study after study has shown has shown merit pay based on standardized tests does not work. It rewards the luck of the teachers draw (who is in their classes) rather than the teacher’s ability to teach. Yet Wise would have you believe differently. Do we want education policies decided on what sounds good (FCAT anyone) or tried and true research. Who should be making decisions for what’s best for kids, teachers in classrooms and parents (most of whom are likewise against the bill) or politicians who have already meddled with public schools almost to death.

Friends don’t let slick packaging and a snake oil salesmen’s tongue convince you this bill is good for education and it’s doing teachers and children a favor. It’s not on both accounts. It’s another attempt by those who hate public education to further cripple public education.

I would say urge your representative to vote against this bill except it was a done deal, regardless of what Wise would have you believe, as soon as Rick Scott was elected, it would be pointless of me to do so. Instead I urge you to remember this day the next time you are in a voting booth. Then please vote what’s best for Florida’s children.

Chris Guerrieri

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