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Friday, May 1, 2015

It’s Teacher and charter school appreciation week, guess which one Florida really appreciates.

The week of May third is teacher appreciation and charter school appreciation week and that right there should tell you how important education is. We have to cram everything in together because the other fifty-one weeks are apparently claimed.

Florida doesn’t really seem to appreciate its teachers. At the height of the recession they took three percent of their salary and now that things are much better they have not given it back. The legislature has required teachers to be evaluated using a complicated formula that no expert thinks we should be using called VAM. It doesn’t take into account poverty and a recent report revealed that even if students do perfect or really well it can still count against a teachers evaluation. Then teachers hired after 2011 have no work protections and can be fired at the end of the school year for any reason or none. Finally Florida’s teachers continue to be some of the poorest paid in the nation. All of this has led to teachers leaving the profession in droves.

Florida however does seem to appreciate it’s charter schools as year after year the legislature finds new ways to send even more money to them. They do this despite the fact over 270 have failed leaving families and communities in lurch, as a group they perform worse than their public school counterparts and more and more are run by for profit management companies, the political connected owners of charter Schools USA and Academia are getting really rich. Furthermore most of the charter schools that are doing well have set up shop in affluent neighborhoods draining resources and hurting the schools already there. I guess what’s not to appreciate.

I often feel Florida has it backwards.

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