I had the best opportunity ever yesterday! I went to the #rallyintally #4publiced!
When my teacher’s union contacted me and offered to take a bus up, I was so excited! I’ve never been to a rally or march before and I didn’t know what to expect. I can honestly say that it exceeded my expectations fully.
Let me start by saying that Florida is a right to work state…which means…they used the government to emasculate the unions. It’s a heavy, heavy lift here in Florida. If you live here and are a teacher, you know that the victimization in this profession is high. We take a lickin’ but we keep on tickin’. They don’t pay us well….districts often put off step increases or just get rid of them with a stroke of a pen. The most recent blow was when the legislature moved to take away tenure and on top of that offered brand new teachers the opportunity to make more money than veteran teachers by showing their standardized test scores. Benefits are cut. Those in power in Tallahassee are so in bed with the charter school movement it’s not even funny. There are some that might want to see the extinction of the Florida Public School teacher…but…in the words of Maya Angelou…still I rise.
I spent the night at a colleague’s house so that I would wake up on time. LOL. We were up at 4. We got dressed, met another colleague for the ride to where we were picking up the bus. After a three and a half hour ride, we arrived at the campus of Florida State University. We had a quick brunch, and then we were off to the march. We all had signs. Some teachers really got into the ones they created and they were so clever…and so accurate. We chanted and marched. There were some phenomenal speakers. I was super impressed with our new union president and I think that she will work hard this session to see that our concerns are heard. I promised myself that one of the contributions I’d be making this year to the cause was to blog on Florida Education policy. One of the things that I feel is happening right now with our teachers is that they are disengaged and disenfranchised from the process. When you are treated like you can’t be trusted…when you are paid like you can’t be trusted…when your time is taken from you without question…when the things that you are asked to do in your classroom have less to do with teaching and more to do with proving yourself? You just get bogged down. That’s what THEY want. They want to have us down so that they can bamboozle constituents. I’m so tired of that, and I want them out of my classroom, and out of Tallahassee…so, I’m calling them out and I’m giving teachers information to empower themselves. These folks have got to go, and if we mobilize correctly, they will! So, let me ask you a few questions.
1. Do you believe that tenure provides voice to teachers who have a desire to advocate for students and stability for teachers looking to plant roots in the community?
2. Do you believe that Florida teachers need to be paid more for the work that they do with our children?
3. Do you believe that guns have no place on our campuses?
4. Do you believe that school districts should not be broken up just to make more room for charters schools to have more funding and authority?