Teacher and service employee unions organized the walk-ins at the schools to pressure lawmakers to improve per-student allocations and lessen the favored financial and other terms granted charter and voucher programs.
The across-the-board federal budget cuts, known as sequestration, will slow our economic recovery and cost upwards of a million jobs nationally. But here in Florida, the sequestration knife cuts especially deep, particularly in the already underfunded field of public education, writes Katie Hansen.
Katie Hansen, president of Flagler County’s teachers union, forcefully argues against FCAT’s culture of high-stakes testing and false but pervasive notions that unions protect bad teachers and contribute only to Democrats.
FCAT testing began this week, and with a dozen tests administered by computer only, to save money, teachers in several Flagler schools are reporting students being arbitrarily logged off, losing work and time and worsening already stressful conditions.
After recriminations and a particularly insulting whistle from the district’s lead negotiator, the two sides appeared headed for compromise over the one issue–how teachers are to be evaluated–keeping the district from approving the 2012-13 teachers contract.
School Board member Colleen Conklin and Superintendent Janet Valentine explain why the controversy over a controversial provision in teachers’ contract doesn’t tell the whole story.
Negotiations are back to zero and mutual trust damaged as the Flagler County School Board said it could not legally approve the contract, as it mistakenly did two weeks ago, by carving out a controversial portion of it dealing with teacher evaluations.
After a closed-door meeting, the Flagler school board ratified a new contract with its teacher union minus a crucial portion defining teacher evaluations, causing a breach with the union just as the two sides are planning next school year.
Thanksgiving will still be a full week off, but Christmas break will entail two broken weeks at either ends, so students can come back on Jan. 2 and have more time to prepare for the new FCAT: end-of-course exams. Printable calendar included.
High and middle school students will lose 45 minutes a day in instructional time, the equivalent of 21 days, and the 2 percent raise won’t make up for salary losses from higher pension and insurance costs and a shorter work year.