Source: Florida Education Association
» Committee week keeps the Capitol hopping
Gov. Rick Scott will unveil his highly anticipated budget request this afternoon at a Tea Party event in Eustis, but the focus will quickly shift back to Tallahassee as lawmakers have already asked for the Scott administration to come explain parts of the budget in legislative meetings.
Here’s more information on Scott’s budget proposal and on Rhee:
» Your source for resources
Remember, you can log in to http://feaweb.org/ to find the latest resources from FEA:
For leaders: http://feaweb.org/leader-resource-section
For staff: http://feaweb.org/staff-resource-section
» Our most accomplished teachers on pay for performance
There’s a lot of talk today about making our schools better and our teachers more effective. Researchers have confirmed that teachers make a big difference in how much students learn -- even in the most challenging schools. But scholars, administrators and teachers (and their union leaders) still disagree, sometimes vehemently, over what constitutes effective teaching and what role student test scores and value-added statistical formulas should play in determining effectiveness and paying teachers for performance. However, the research evidence is clear: working conditions, far more than salary incentives, are key to recruiting and retaining effective teachers. Performance pay plans can make a difference for student achievement , when they are designed to improve the school climate and encourage teacher collaboration – not just increase compensation.
We’ll keep you posted on this report in future editions of FEA Right Now.
» Legislative trainings getting under way
The staff members of the newly rebadged Political, Legislative, Policy and Advocacy Department will be providing more than 20 legislative briefing around the state in between now and the start of session. During the briefing, the speakers will be detailing the coming budget issues, legislative priorities and proposals. These briefings are in addition to the delivery of similar information and briefings provided during the regional resource team meetings. For further information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
» Citizens ask court to enforce voting rights laws
Last week, the Florida NAACP, Florida League of Women Voters, Democracia Ahora and several individual voters in Monroe County filed suit to require Gov. Rick Scott and Secretary of State Kurt Browning to stop stonewalling implementation of Amendments 5 and 6. The amendments must be pre-cleared by the U.S. Department of Justice before they can be implemented. Former Gov. Charlie Crist requested the necessary preclearance before he left office. Two days after appointing Browning as Secretary of State, Scott withdrew the request. Browning was head of the committee that opposed the passage of the Fair Districts amendments.
For more see: http://www.tampabay.com/blogs/the-buzz-florida-politics/
» Florida taxes already among the lowest in the nation
The current emphasis in Tallahassee on cutting state taxes obscures important facts about Florida's tax system and about choices available to balance the budget and meet the needs of Floridians. Understanding the current level of taxation and who pays to support public services is important to the debate about tax cuts. Some people maintain that Florida state taxes, particularly the amount paid by corporations, slow economic growth and the creation of new jobs.
In fact, Florida is a low-tax state. In addition, the amount paid by corporations relative to total income in Florida is shrinking. Moderate- and low-income taxpayers are paying a greater share of the tax load. Despite a budget gap that exceeds $4 billion, Florida's leaders are not considering a balanced approach including closing tax loopholes to fix the budget shortfall.
Closing loopholes to raise revenues for state needs is an alternative to the path of tax and spending cuts being taken by political leaders this year. Reforming the tax structure would minimize cuts to services and make the tax system more fair.
» More from around the state
Some interesting items from our local associations around the state:
» Labornotes.org explores education policy
» News you should know
Florida teachers say lawmakers are unfairly targeting them
Vouchers for all may be Scott’s plan
GOP Governors Take Aim at Teacher Tenure