Do you think schools focus too much on the FCAT already? That the curriculum spends way too much time teaching kids how to pass a multiple choice test rather than teaching them how to think? Well, if this bill passes, 50% of teachers' salaries, their job security from year to year, even renewal of their teaching certificate will be based on how their students perform on standardized tests.
If you think our schools teach to the test now...just wait and see what happens when this new system is put in place, when the financial stability of teachers' families depends on how their classes perform on the FCAT (and in high schools, on yet-to-be-developed end-of-course tests in nearly every subject).
And on top of that, the new system would make little provision for teachers who work in the lowest-performing schools. Why would any good teachers accept that assignment, basing their salary and professional futures on the performance of the highest-risk students when so many factors in those kids lives affect their scores on a single test?
In just five days nearly 4000 Floridians have signed this letter to House Speaker Larry Cretul urging him to stop SB 6/HB 7189. This quick and widespread response demonstrates what a bad idea Florida parents, teachers and voters think this bill is.
Despite Speaker Cretul's statement that he would be monitoring opposition to the legislation before deciding whether to move forward, HB 7189 has now been referred to a committee that meets next Monday. That's the last stop before reaching the floor for a vote of the full House, and the Senate bill has already been passed.
This legislation is being fast-tracked, and time is short. The House returns to work on Wednesday morning, and we'll deliver the letter. Together, we need to make sure we're more than 10,000 strong by then. Let's make sure Speaker Cretul returns to work to find an outpouring of opposition he can't ignore.
Here are the steps you can take right now:
1. Sign the letter to the Speaker right now, then post it to your Facebook page and encourage others to sign too. (There's a button that makes it simple to post after you sign.)
2. Call and email the office of Speaker Larry Cretul at firstname.lastname@example.org and 850.488.1450 to let him know you oppose SB 6 and HB 7189.
3. Call the Chair of the Education Policy Council to express your opposition to HB 7189: Rep. Will Weatherford, (850) 488-5744. Urge him not to put the bill on the agenda for next week's meeting.
4. Email or call your state representative to express your opposition using our easy online tool.
Thanks for joining us in building a brighter future for Florida. And stay tuned -- we'll let you know what happens on the education legislation as well as other issues moving through the legislature.