Florida’s governor has just made a very poor decision. He has vetoed a bill which would have brought a remarkable level of accountability to Florida’s public school teachers. Here’s the skinny:
Republican Gov. Charlie Crist announced shortly after noon today that he had vetoed the controversial merit pay bill that would end tenure for public school teachers and base future pay raises mostly on student test scores.
“This bill is contrary to my firmly held principle to act in the best interest of the people of Florida,” Crist said. “It is the right thing to do.”
In vetoing the bill (SB 6), Crist attacked its most monumental change in the system: a plan to eliminate multi-year contracts for teachers, commonly known as tenure, and replace it with annual deals.
Further down in the article, the governor talks about how the bill was rushed through and that it was not created with input from all of the participants, etc.
Here’s the thing, though, Florida legislators have been working toward this point for about 10 years now. For the governor to claim that it was rushed through and that this is too much too soon is disingenuous at best.
Governor Crist has known exactly what was going on with this and has known for a long, long time. The real issue is that he is not truly interested in seeing what new things (such as incorporating “pay for performance” criteria for teachers) might be able to increase the capabilities of Florida’s public school system. Rather, the governor couches his veto behind “act[ing] in the best interests of the people of Florida” while he seeks to continue a system which has been shown to work against the best interests of the citizens of Florida–though not the teachers unions.
It should be remarkably apparent to all Floridians who believe in achievements which are based on merit that Crist will not be the one to champion that principle from the governor’s office.