Not everyone was pleased with Gov. Charlie Crist’s decision to veto Senate Bill 6 on April 15.
State Representative James Frishe, R-Belleair Bluffs, voted for the bill and said, in an interview with Tampa Bay Newspaper’s Alexandra Caldwell, that he is disappointed in Gov. Crist for his decision.
“The governor was clearly in favor of it two weeks before,” Frishe said. “And the bill didn’t change, and he even sent his top education policy person down to testify in favor of the bill in committee, and then two weeks later, he vetoed the bill, and I’m just very disappointed.”
Frishe said he has been working with this issue in the Legislature for 25 years and that in that time, all the important parties of interest have been vetted. He also said that the veto eliminates the hope of receiving a Race to the Top federal grant in the second round of grant awards. He felt that this bill would have secured the funding and thus would have funds available to pay teachers more and for other education needs.
Frishe said his wife is a retired educator and his daughter is an elementary school teacher, so he has a stake in education, but he has lost faith in the teachers’ unions.
“What we’ll probably do is come back next year and try to put together a reform,” Frishe said. “But I’m not particularly optimistic that the unions will support anything anymore. The reason these (similar) bills passed in Delaware and Tennessee and that they got Race to the Top funds is the unions figured out that this is the only way they’ll get their better teachers paid more. But the Florida unions opposed it and basically convinced the governor through public pressure to veto the bill.”
There were some common misconceptions in the public, Frishe said. For instance, he said they weren’t trying to control things that they can’t control, like what happens at home.
“We weren’t planning on judging teachers on what they couldn’t control,” Frishe said. “All we were saying is the things you can control, we should be able to reward you for that. We can’t control parents, and we can’t control home environment. …What we do want to do is reward teachers for what they can control, and that’s what happens in the time that that student is in your classroom. And if that student makes gains when they’re in your classroom, you deserve to be rewarded.”
A lot of the details were to have been worked out on the local level, Frishe said, which is why there was to be a four-year implementation period. Continue reading here.