Florida Gov. Charlie Crist is having second thoughts about signing a new education bill which has been passed by the Florida legislature. The bill, SB 6, if passed into law, would replace traditional tenure for public school teachers with a new annual contract system. This would make it easier for school systems to fire experienced yet unproductive teachers. To remain as an educator, teachers would need to show that they were "effective" or "highly effective" for four of the previous five years, based on student performance. Gov. Crist, who previously supported this bill, is now stating that he may not sign it because of his concern about how teachers of special education students would be evaluated. In particular, he believes it may be unfair to teachers of intellectually disabled children, because those children may not be able to show the same learning gains as non-disabled children during the four or five year time period. To add even more intrigue to this story, John Thrasher, the Republican sponsor of the bill in the Senate, has a grandson with Down Syndrome. Mr. Thrasher, who is also the head of the Florida Republican Party, claims that his grandson has "learned" in a mainstream kindergarten class. For more information about this very interesting story, refer to: http://www2.tbo.com/content/2010/apr/09/091158/na-lawmakers-spar-over-schools-bill/life-education/
James M. Baron, Esq., M.Ed.