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Saturday, December 15, 2018

Tallahassee has a unicorn, a republican that cares about public education

People say I am hard on republicans, and I am because they deserve it.

If charter schools were nonprofit sites of innovation that as a group did a good job educating children, I imagine I would be for them but they aren’t. instead most are for profit monstrosities that offer zero in the way of innovation.

Then if voucher schools had over site on the money and standards with what they taught and didn’t fund religious schools, and as a group did a good job I educating our children I imagine I would be for them as well, but they aren’t. many teach junk science and history and have no requirements for their teachers.

The problem is all too often the republicans in Tallahassee have been interested in punishing teachers and thus public schools, who haven’t supported them. The ignore the hypocrisy that public schools are tested to death, while voucher schools have no accountability at all, even though they are both financed with the public dime. They also aren’t data driven, programs like the best and brightest that rewards teachers with high SAT scores, give me a %$#^ing break, aren’t rooted in evidence, but that doesn’t stop them from carrying on.

Worse than all that however is too many republicans push laws and legislation that personally benefits them, their family members or their big donors. Fischer, Corcoran, Diaz, the list goes on and on and they show time and time again that not the state’s children and teachers who they care about.

Public education does have many issues but most for them were caused by the people who seek to dismantle public education, but despite the brutal assault on one of our nation’s greatest institutions they are by far the best education option going.

Those are my issues. The thing is I would support anybody from any political party if they were interested in doing things the right way, if they were interested in putting the public’s needs above their own, unfortunately republicans in Tallahassee like that are far and few between, like unicorns, though we recently did have a sighting.

From the Tampa Times:

A Republican lawmaker who's also a teacher wants to end state restrictions on how public school teachers are paid. 

Rep. Rene Plasencia, R-Orlando, aims to roll back the 2011 prohibition on using advanced degrees as a criteria when setting salary schedules, and cancel the requirement that districts adopt performance pay plans, as well. 

Merit pay, Plasencia explained, has no positive impact on student performance, but it does have a negative effect on teacher morale. If districts want to maintain the current system, he suggested, that's fine. 

But the state shouldn't mandate it. 

"The way you pay teachers should be done at the local level," Plasencia said, calling the current model "flawed" and "rigid." 

He predicted his bill (HB 77) could gain traction, despite a seemingly strong sentiment favoring the accountability rules first adopted nearly eight years ago in SB 736. It would just follow in the steps of other mandates from the same bill being turned back after lawmakers saw how they worked in practice. 

SB 736 also required that student academic results, which became the "value-added model," account for half of teacher performance evaluations. The Legislature stopped forcing districts to do that anymore in 2017. 

 It called for end-of-course exams in every class at every grade level, too. The state scaled back that mandate in 2015. 

"Little by little, the Legislature has admittedly said [SB 736] was probably an overreach, and let's start peeling it back," Plasencia said. "I think this is the next step in the same direction."

Merit pay, Plasencia explained, has no positive impact on student performance, but it does have a negative effect on teacher morale.

Not based on evidence, sigh just like most of the things Tallahassee has done to education and the teaching profession over the last few years.  A negative effect on teacher morals, sigh just like most of the things they do.

Even if you hate public schools and teachers is it too much to ask we at least be evidenced based? Don’t our children deserve it? 

Friends the bow is about to break, what we need our a few more unicorns willing to do the right thing.


  1. Calling your opponents "unicorns" is a lousy way to persuade them that you need their help.

    You give no argument, only invective. I'm willing to argue the point of government school vs private education/charter school. But not if my opponent can't rise beyond animal insults.

  2. Before I respond in detail can you tell me if you think unicorns are real or not. Thanks!