teachdade

An open wikispace for people interested in improving Miami-Dade County education to collaborate.
Please feel free to add your own ideas. Just click 'Edit This Page' above most pages. Thank you.

Oppose increased standardized testing, massive teacher pay cuts, and growing state intervention in education during the 2010 Florida legislative session

Preserve local control of schools. Protect students and teachers from arbitrary state and district abuse.
Hands off teacher pensions, and the class size amendment.
No more big government in education, we need less.


Businesses that supported SB6

Florida Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors 2010


Council of 100
Thanks to Marta Zayas for this information.
Facebook discussion
Council of 100 January Report: http://fc100.org/
http://fc100.org/documents/Florida%20Council%20of%20100%20--%20Closing%20the%20Talent%20Gap,%20January%202010(1).pdf
List of Education Committee Committee Members: http://www.fc100.org/documents/edgovernance011702.pdf
Council of 100 position
http://staugustine.com/news/local-news/2010-03-03/thrasher-sponsors-teacher-merit-pay-bill http://www.miamiherald.com/2010/01/15/1426204/florida-council-of-100-makes-suggestions.html http://blogs.orlandosentinel.com/news_education_edblog/2010/01/florida-council-of-100-urges-state-to-close-its-talent-gap-improve-education.html


Alex Sink on Senate Bill 6 - Internet search

Rick Scott on Senate Bill 6 - Internet search


Thank you again for signing the petition


Thank you again for signing the petition “Vote Against Florida Senate Bill 6” last spring. For updates on what we did with the petition, please see below.

Meantime, let’s stay in touch, as school improvement is a continuous process.
Please email me to get on a mailing list for future updates, and/or,
Join our Facebook page, and/or,
Join our wikispace (see above) and/or,
Sign our newest petition to stop tax increases in Miami-Dade County.

Best regards,

Otto Zequeira
mdcpsprofessionals



*Join our Facebook page

*Contact the organizer



Commotion over SB 6 cleared the way for other dramatic education bills to pass unnoticed. Dade County Education Policy Examiner, April 20, 2010


Mourn the victory over Senate Bill 6


"(I)f you win the war, you must grieve it (Laozi, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 31)."

The victory over Senator John Thrasher's self-proclaimed 'sledgehammer', Senate Bill 6, should also be a time of mourning and reflection.

It is a time of mourning because many people have suffered extreme levels of stress over the past several weeks due to this travesty of legislation which would have increased standardized testing of students, cut teacher salaries to pay for it, and increased state control of young people and teachers alike.

Schools and learning were disrupted. Also, with their students, profession, livelihood, and even their homes threatened, I know teachers who had difficulty sleeping, got sick, and even had marital difficulties during these past three weeks. So in this victory, let us mourn for those who have suffered.

Let us be a living example for the Senator, who has said he has no regrets, and was quoted in Sunday's paper saying that the legislature would be back next year with similar legislation. In the article, Senator Thrasher points fingers about his failure, but his failure was more likely caused by arrogance.

With that in mind, let us consider what else we might want to do in order to not only prevent more standardized tests for our children and attacks on the teaching profession, but instead win more freedom and responsibility for our students, ourselves, and the education of our local communities.

Students and parents don’t want more limitations to education, they want more options like internships, apprenticeships, and multilingual education. We should explore the idea of facilitating family choices between public schools and even teachers on a quarterly basis. Additionally, perhaps our existing, state-mandated school improvement committees could be empowered to be more like boards of governors in the English system and independent schools to provide real school choices.

Notice that these ideas to encourage choice, competition and quality improvement don't require a lot of money. If state representatives continue to insist that we spend 900 million dollars for testing that doesn't work, maybe we need to instead insist that they give us a sales tax cut and let 900 million flowers bloom. To improve education, we don’t need more tests, salary cuts to teachers, or more big government, we need more freedom and responsibility for students, parents, teachers and schools.

In this time of victory, mourning, and reflection, just as some possibly misinformed representatives voted yes for Senate Bill 6, we can also say 'Yes' to improved education in our state. With this attitude of compassion for ourselves, our students, and our communities, we will be ready.

Otto Zequeira
Journalism Teacher of the Year
Dade & Monroe Counties, 2005-6

Please post your reactions here:
http://www.facebook.com/topic.php?topic=28&uid=104270309612324
Thank you.


Other Bills of concern


Class-size amendment
SB 1970
CS/HB 5101 - Prekindergarten through Grade 12 Education Funding GENERAL BILL


HB 1319: http://www.flsenate.gov/data/session/2010/House/bills/billtext/pdf/h131900.pdf , and here are some particular issues included in this bill:
Line 110: 1 percent contribution of salary to FRS for new hires
Line 250: Overtime, accumulated annual leave excluded from “compensation”
Line 271: Average final compensation no longer includes accumulated annual leave and no longer based on highest five years, but now average annual compensation over creditable service
Line 448: Reduction in annual multiplier from 1.60 to 1.44 percent for regular class
Line 623; 731: Normal retirement ages and ages for DROP eligibility are increased


More ideas for action


(Chart data needs confirmation)


Candidates for Florida office

Education bill a litmus test in Florida races. Miami Herald, 04-14-10


Pay cuts for teachers, but Florida senators give raises to staff

Florida senators OK'd raises for staffers despite state pay cuts. Miami Herald, 03-22-10
Fla. senators OK’d raises despite state pay cuts. Bradenton.com, 03-23-10

http://jacksonville.com/news/florida/2010-04-01/story/florida-house-members-ok-tight-budget-gives-them-pay-hike-drafting
http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/state/florida-house-members-bungle-their-own-pay-cut-505133.html


Contents

Governor Charlie Crist vetoes Senate Bill 6
Vote Against Florida Senate Bill 6
Please view / sign the petition
Call or email Governor Charlie Crist
Email to Governor Charlie Crist with 2,600 signatures,
Miami-Dade School Board gives Senate Bill 6 a thumbs down. Miami Herald, 04-14-10
Education bill a litmus test in Florida races. Miami Herald, 04-14-10
Critics of SB 6, the education bill, run gamut from tea partiers to teachers. St. Petersburg Times, 04-13-10
David Rivera, A Mano Limpia, 1st draft transcript
0:55 http://www.americateve.com/Multimedia/archive_player.php?cpi=4496
Water versus Thrasher's Sledgehammer 04-11-10
Emails to the House and Governor Charlie Crist with 2,300 signatures, 04-07-10
Miami-Dade resolution against SB6
Call and Email Your Representatives
More ideas for action
Links
Fax to El Diario de las Américas, 04-06-10
Letter to the House Education Policy Committee, 04-05-10
Coverage in El Nuevo Herald, 04-04-10
Univision forum 03-31-10 - Descarga de la Tarde – Pago de mérito
Thank you for your part in petition send-off, Monday 03-29-10
From the Miami Herald: Pay cuts for teachers, but Florida senators give raises to staff
Letter to Florida House Representatives for petition send-off, 03-29-10
Miami Petition Send-Off Monday, 03-28, 7 PM at Ayestaran
Letter and petition sent to Florida Senators, Wednesday, 03-23-10
Letter and petition sent to Florida Senators, Monday, 03-22-10, approximately 10:30 PM EST
Speech at the Miami-Dade County School Board, 03-17-10
Vote No to SB 6 (Essay)
Articles

Call and Email Your Representatives

United Teachers of Dade petition and resources
Contact FL House members
Find your Florida senator

Email addresses of S. Florida senators
thrasher.john.web@...
portilla.alex.web@...
garcia.rudy.web@...
gelber.dan.web@...
rich.nan.web@...
ring.jeremy.web@...
villalobos.alexlweb@...
wilson.frederica.web@...
bullard.larcenia.web@...
atwater.jeff.web@..

Senate Bill 6

Vote Against Florida Senate Bill 6

Please view / sign the petition

Thank you to the hundreds of people who have signed and spread the word about this petition.



Text of Senate Bill 6
Text of Senate bill (current)

Track House Bill 7189
http://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/HouseCalendar/broadcast.aspx

Merit pay

Links

FL Legislature 2010 workpage

Facebook pages

Florida Teachers Against Performance Pay
Stop Senate Bill 6 - Miami student site
Stop Senate Bill 6
Student March Against Senate Bill 6
Rally for teachers by Julio Robaina
http://www.facebook.com/group.php?v=wall&ref=search&gid=10150117923390012
http://ja-jp.facebook.com/pages/Future-Florida-Teachers-Against-SB-6-HB-7189/106046729431211?v=wall&ref=mf


Other petitions

Civic Concern
Petiton for Congress to intercede


YouTube: Senator Thrasher has no clear answers on SB6



Governor Charlie Crist vetoes Senate Bill 6

http://www.elnuevoherald.com/2010/04/17/698621/los-republicanos-fallaron-con.html
http://www.miamiherald.com/2010/04/15/1582143/crist-showing-independent-streak.html
http://www.elnuevoherald.com/2010/04/14/696142/crist-contra-la-pared-por-ley.html
Gobernador Crist veta el proyecto de ley de maestros. El Nuevo Herald, 04-16-10

Call or email Governor Charlie Crist

Crist urges softening teacher bill. Miami Herald, 04-08-10


Email to Governor Charlie Crist with 2,600 signatures, 04-15-10


From: Otto Zequeira

Sent: 4/15/2010 9:31:08 AM

To: Charlie.Crist@MyFlorida.com

Subject: Please veto Senate Bill 6
Dear Governor Crist:

As a parent, I ask you to please veto Senate Bill 6. The policies pushed by the bill lead me to seriously reconsider the education options for my son, as the policies would in no way benefit his growth as a moral, ethical, hard-working, happy person. In fact, I believe that the proposals of the bill would impede or injure his development.

Also, attached please find a copy of an online petition against SB6 which contain almost 2,600 signatures and over 700 pages of comments from Florida residents.

Thank you for your time and attention.

Sincerely,

Otto Zequeira
Miami, FL


David Rivera, A Mano Limpia, 1st draft transcript

0:55 http://www.americateve.com/Multimedia/archive_player.php?cpi=4496
Proteger esos maestros que estan ayudando desarroyar intelectualmente a los estudiantes.
No va a cortar a ningun salario.
No eliminar el estatus permanente de maestros en el sistema.
No va a quitar a ningun beneficio.
5% bonus que son superiores.
Estudiantes en barrios pobres van a ser evaluadas con otros barrios pobres.
Ningun maestro va ser perjudicado.
No castigar.
Los sindicatos no quieren perder control de negociar contrato.
Crist no va a evaluar la ley en sustancia, solo en politica.

Water versus Thrasher's Sledgehammer

04-11-10
Senator Thrasher called Senate Bill 6 a sledgehammer. To respond, one school of self-defense says that it is best not to be inflexible and possibly shatter oneself, but to be like water instead. If struck with sufficient force, water can break the handle of a sledgehammer, and, with time, water will wear it away.

While some have called for a sickout and a 9 AM rally at Tropical Park in Miami, FL, others have urged a rally a 3:30 PM, and this latter approach may be especially prudent. One does not want to be photographed at the park on a sick day.

We may be playing with big boys here. I have been told that a supposed anarchist website advertising the 9 AM rally may be a front for an anti-teacher group.

I haven’t felt this used since college, but that was a dating situation, and was more consensual. Humor in this situation is perhaps the most appropriate thing, because if we see that the emperor has no clothes, he has that much less power.

Considering Thrasher’s sledgehammer in the light of this children’s story, it may just turn out to be a little #2 pencil.


Emails to the House and Governor Charlie Crist with 2,300 signatures, 04-07-10

"One of my students recently said about this bill, in a threatening manner, "Now you have to take care of us." This is the basic accomplishment of SB6. It is, in the words of one opposition representative, a slap in the face of teachers. It eliminates whatever respect and authority teachers have left in the public school classroom."

Miami-Dade resolution against SB6
http://www.miamidade.gov/govaction/matter.asp?matter=100814&file=true&yearFolder=Y2010

Fax to El Diario de las Américas, 04-06-10


Abril 6, 2010

Estimados editores de El Diario de las Américas:

Hoy publicaron una opinion de Rubén Navarrete Jr. que apoya el pago de mérito para los maestros como propone la ley #6 del Senado del Estado de la Florida, que aumentaría el número de exámenes que toman los estudiantes, y al mismo tiempo, bajaría el sueldo de los maestros (en algunos casos hasta 30 or 40 mil dólares al año), e incrementaría el control centralizado de la educación. Dicha propuesta nos llevaría en una dirección equivocada. Además, les pedimos a sus lectores que llamen sus representantes estatales para decirles que voten en contra de SB6. La información de contacto de los representantes se puede encontrar aquí:

http[[home|://teachdade.wikispaces.com]]

Cuando se describió la propuesta a nuestros estudiantes, uno de ellos dijo, en una manera amenazante, “Ahora vas a tener que tratarnos bien.” Esto es lo mas básico que hace la SB6. En las palabras de uno de los representantes estatales que se opone a ella, es una falta de respeto a los maestros. Elimina cualquier autoridad que le queda a los maestros en las aulas de las escuelas públicas.

La ley pagaría a los maestros por los resultados de sus estudiantes en exámenes estandardizados como si fuera por comisión. La diferencia es que cuando se trabaja por comisión, uno lo hace con la idea de que los consumidores (en este caso, los alumnos) quieren comprar el producto. En este caso, los estudiantes y los padres no quieren comprar lo que la legislatura quiere que vendamos, más exámenes.

Según los detalles de esta propuesta que eliminan el pago de los maestros por sus años de servicio, muchos de nuestros colegas que son maestros muy dedicados y tienen más de 30 años de experiencia perderían hasta 30 o 40 mil dólares de su sueldo. Algunos de estos maestros están en peligro de perder sus casas. Para confirmar estos hechos, pueden visitor dicho sitio de internet.

No es que haya una falta de dinero. Los sistemas de educación através del país malgastan el dinero. Por ejemplo, en Miami-Dade, se gastan 15 mil dólares por estudiante cada año, y sólo llegan a las escuelas 3 mil. Si quieren confirmar este número, por favor visiten:

http://teachdade.wikispaces.com/Effective+education+spending

Nuestra legislatura quisiera sugerir que el FCAT ha mejorado la educación pública, lo cual no pudiera estar más lejos de la verdad. A los políticos en Talahassee les gusta subrayar el hecho de que los resultados en lectura de los estudiantes en el cuarto grado han subido, pero estos mismos políticos se olvidan de que los resultados en el mismo exámen de lectura del FCAT han bajado para los estudiantes del décimo grado (vea Pasco: Test scores fall as pupils rise, http://www.sptimes.com/2005/05/20/Pasco/Test_scores_fall_as_p.shtml ). Siendo políticos, dejan de mencionar la parte de la historia que no sirve sus fines políticos.

Lo que en realidad quiere lograr Talahassee aquí es un ataque cultural y monetario contra nuestra comunidad multilingüe y multicultural, intencionalmente or no. Pero no sólo empeorarían intelectualmente y físicamente a los alumnos de las escuelas, sino también transferirían los fondos de los sueldos de los maestros a las compañías de los exámenes y a los socios de nuestros políticos.

Irónicamente, sí ha habido un beneficio de la propuesta #6: ha unido a los estudiantes, a los padres, a los maestros, a los administradores de escuelas, y a las juntas escolares contra nuestra legislatura.

Los estudiantes no quieren mas límites en su educación, sino más opciones, como los internados, los aprendizajes, y la educación multilingüe. Para mejorar la educación, no necesitamos más exámenes ni recortes de salario a los maestros. No necesitamos mas control centralizado del gobierno, sino más libertad y más responsabilidad para los estudiantes, los padres y los maestros.

Les agradecemos su tiempo y atención.

Atentamente,

Otto Zequeira
Maestro de periodismo del año en Miami-Dade y Monroe, 2005-6

David M. Kirsner, PhD
Maestro de español


Coral Gables Senior High


Letter to the House Education Policy Committee, 04-05-10


Committee members, phone #'s
Email the Committee

House Education Committee, 04-05-10
Dear Representative:
I am writing to ask you to vote today in the Education Council against Senate Bill 6 / House Bill 7189, which would increase standardized testing, cut teacher salaries (in some cases up to 30 to 40 thousand dollars a year) to pay for the increased testing and bureaucracy, and expand the control of big government in education. Attached also please find a copy of an online petition against SB6 which contain over 2,220 signatures.

The bill would pay teachers based on the results of student standardized test scores as if teachers were on commission. The difference is that when you work for commission, you do so with the idea that consumers want to buy the product. In this case, however, students and parents do not want to buy what the legislature wants us to sell, more tests.

As a result of the section of this bill which prohibits pay based on years of service, many of my very dedicated colleagues with decades of experience would lose 30 to 40 thousand dollars of their salaries, and in some cases put them in danger of losing their homes.

Education officials have trumpeted that 4th graders have improved their reading performance, but what they won't tell you is that the reading ability of 10th graders has actually declined, according to the St. Petersburg Times (see Pasco: Test scores fall as pupils rise). The reason why is very simple: standardization is low quality.

What this bill would really carry out is a cultural and financial attack on our multilingual, multicultural state, intentionally or not. Not only would SB6 deteriorate our students and teachers morally, intellectually and physically, but it would also transfer teacher salary cuts to testing companies and a burgeoning bureaucracy.

The one positive result of SB6 is that it has united students, parents, teachers, school administrators, and school boards... because they are all against it.

Students and parents don’t want more limitations to education, they want more options like internships, apprenticeships, multilingual education, and choices of public schools. To improve education, we don’t need more tests, salary cuts to teachers, or more big government, we need more freedom and responsibility for students, parents, teachers and schools.

Please vote against SB 6 / HB 7189 today in the Education Council. Thank you for your time and attention, and we hope you are doing well.

Sincerely,

Otto Zequeira
Journalism Teacher of the Year
Miami Dade & Monroe Counties 2005-6
Teacher, parent and voter



Coverage in El Nuevo Herald, 04-04-10

Los maestros en pie de guerra contra medida de Tallahassee

Coverage in El Nuevo Herald stemming from our petition. If you haven't signed yet, please consider doing so at http://teachdade.wikispaces.com. Also, join our Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/teachdade/104270309612324?v=wall&ref=ts . Thank you.

03-31-10

Please respond at the Univisision forum

Descarga de la Tarde – Pago de mérito

Estimados directores de "Descarga de la tarde":
Uno de sus anfitriones mencionó hoy su apoyo para la ley #6 propuesta por el Senado del estado de la Florida, que aumentaría el número de exámenes que toman los estudiantes, y al mismo tiempo, bajaría el sueldo de los maestros (en algunos casos hasta 30 or 40 mil dólares al año), e incrementaría el control centralizado de la educación. Por favor reconsideren su opinión sobre dicha propuesta, porque, al contrario, nos llevaría en una dirección equivocada. Además, les pedimos a sus radioyentes de su progama que agreguen sus nombres a la más de 2,000 firmas en esta petición contra la propuesta #6:

http: www.thepetitionsite.com / 1 / votenosb6 (eliminen espacios de la dirección electrónica)

... o que llamen para decirles a sus representantes estatales que voten en contra de SB6. La información de contacto de los representantes se puede encontrar aquí:

http
: teachdade . wikispaces . com
(eliminen espacios de la dirección electrónica)

La ley pagaría a los maestros por los resultados de sus estudiantes en exámenes estandardizados como si fuera por comisión. La diferencia es que cuando se trabaja por comisión, uno lo hace con la idea de que los consumidores (en este caso, los alumnos) quieren comprar el producto. En este caso, los estudiantes y los padres no quieren comprar lo que la legislatura quiere que vendamos,
más exámenes.

Según los detalles de esta propuesta que eliminan el pago de los maestros por sus años de servicio, muchos de nuestros colegas que son maestros muy dedicados y tienen más de 30 años de experiencia perderían hasta 30 o 40 mil dólares de su sueldo. Algunos de estos maestros están en peligro de perder sus casas. Para confirmar estos hechos, pueden visitar:

http: teachdade . wikispaces . com
(eliminen espacios de la dirección electrónica)

No es que haya una falta de dinero. Los sistemas de educación através del país malgastan el dinero. Por ejemplo, en Miami-Dade, se gastan 15 mil dólares por estudiante cada año, y sólo llegan a las escuelas 3 mil. Si quieren confirmar este número, por favor visiten:
http
: teachdade.wikispaces.com / Effective+education+spending
(eliminen espacios de la dirección electrónica)


Nuestra legislatura quisiera sugerir que el FCAT ha mejorado la educación pública, lo cual no pudiera estar más lejos de la verdad. A los políticos en Talahassee les gusta subrayar el hecho de que los resultados en lectura de los estudiantes en el cuarto grado han subido, pero estos mismos políticos se olvidan de que los resultados en el mismo exámen de lectura del FCAT han bajado para los estudiantes del décimo grado
(vea Pasco: Test scores fall as pupils rise, http:
// www.sptimes.com /2005/05/20/Pasco/ Test_scores_fall_as_p.shtml (eliminen espacios de la dirección electrónica)
. Siendo políticos, dejan de mencionar la parte de la historia que no sirve sus fines políticos.
Lo que en realidad quiere lograr Talahassee aquí es un ataque cultural contra nuestra comunidad multilingüe y multicultural, intencionalmente or no. Pero no sólo empeorarían intelectualmente y físicamente a los alumnos de las escuelas, sino también transferirían los fondos de los sueldos de los maestros a las compañías de los exámenes y a los socios de nuestros políticos.
Irónicamente, sí ha habido un beneficio de la propuesta #6: ha unido a los estudiantes, a los padres, a los maestros, a los administradores de escuelas, y a las juntas escolares contra nuestra legislatura.

Los estudiantes no quieren mas límites en su educación, sino más opciones, como los internados, los aprendizajes, y la educación multilingüe.

Para mejorar la educación, no necesitamos más exámenes ni recortes de salario a los maestros. No necesitamos mas control centralizado del gobierno, sino más libertad y más responsabilidad para los estudiantes, los padres y los maestros.

Les agradecemos su tiempo y atención.

Atentamente,

Otto Zequeira
Maestro de periodismo del año en Miami-Dade y Monroe, 2005-6
David M. Kirsner, PhD
Maestro de español
Coral Gables Senior High




Thank you for your part in petition send-off, Monday 03-29-10

Thank you to everyone who has signed the petition, and to the teachers and citizens who joined us on Monday at Ayestaran Cafeteria to send off 1,700 signatures to the entire Florida House of Representatives.

We are also thankful to the channel 7 news desk and cameraman for covering the send-off. For video of the coverage, please go to:

http://www.wsvn.com/news/articles/local/MI147929/

Most importantly, it was an opportunity to celebrate our unity as educators and citizens against the attack on our communities that is Senate Bill 6 / House Bill 7189, which would increase standardized testing of students and cut teacher salaries.

The legislative process continues, so don't think it's too late to get involved. To sign the petition, please visit:

The petition can be viewed online at:

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/votenosb6

... and for more information and updates, please visit:

http://teachdade.wikispaces.com


Thank you.

Otto Zequeira





Letter to Florida House Representatives for petition send-off, 03-29-10


Dear Representative:

Attached please find a petition with 1,761 signatures and 196 pages of comments from Florida residents urging you to vote against the companion to Florida Senate Bill 6. Do not allow yourself to be made complicit in the dumbing down of Florida.

Oppose increased standardized testing and threats to half of teachers' salaries. Students, parents, teachers and Florida citizens oppose these measures. Oppose greater state intervention in children's education. We need less government to facilitate learning, not more.

Since the list of signatures has been growing very quickly (at the time of the email, it is at 1,843), please also consider visiting the petition sites directly at:

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/votenosb6 , and
http://teachdade.wikispaces.com

While we cannot forget that this bill is ultimately an attempt to exert greater control over our young people, and dumb children and our communities down whether intentionally or not, because of their overwhelmingly generous nature, I think that teachers have emphasized the increased standardized testing, unreasonableness, ineffectiveness, and negative educational effects of SB6, and have not articulated enough that this bill threatens to cut the salaries of tens of thousands of teachers. This is certainly true of my internet petition, Vote Against Florida Senate Bill 6, which also emphasized the increased testing on students, but did not fully explain the threatened salary cuts to teachers. I realized that the threatened pay had not been expressed enough when I received a defensive email from a senator aggressively denying it.

Apparently, the senator did not want to be known as a person who is cutting teacher salaries, and with good reason, because most taxpayers are against it. But the fact is that by threatening to fine any district which even partially uses years of service in its pay formula, the state is threatening vast numbers of teachers with salary cuts by thousands of dollars, and many of my hard-working, veteran colleagues around me by tens of thousands of dollars, and even putting them in jeopardy of losing their homes. My family, both teachers with a young son at home, is threatened with a cut of several thousand dollars by this bill.

This is how the legislature rewards us after putting us for the last several weeks through the mental and physical meat grinder that is standardized testing, in this case the FCAT. The state rewards us with a fast-tracked bill while we are stressed with turning in quarterly grades, precluding us opportunity to respond, because, frankly, the writers of this bill have not considered the lives of rank and file teachers.

This bill threatens to transfer these salary cuts to testing companies, who clearly do not know how to teach better than we do. Education officials have trumpeted that 4th graders have improved their reading performance, but what they won't tell you is that the reading ability of 10th graders has actually declined, according to the St. Petersburg Times (see Pasco: Test scores fall as pupils rise). The reason why is very simple: standardization is low quality.

This bill also threatens to transfer funds away from the individual teachers who live in our communities to the bureaucracies of the school systems that are bloated statewide and nationally. It is of particular concern that teacher salaries are being cut while senators are reported in the Miami Herald and Bradenton.com to have given raises to their staffers.

Please notice that I keep using the word 'threatens' when I describe the potential salary cuts of this bill. This bill is a loaded gun to the heads of teachers, but the ultimate prize is the minds of the students. By threatening the livelihood of teachers, the state is attempting to coerce greater control of education from local communities of families through increased testing. End of course exams will further extend the hand of big government into the daily classroom experience of students.

These students need more options like internships, apprenticeships, and bilingual education, not more testing.

Preserve local control of Florida schools. Protect students and teachers from arbitrary state and district abuse. We need smaller government to give families more freedom and responsibility to make good choices, not more.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

Otto Zequeira
Miami, FL
Parent, teacher and voter




Miami Petition Send-Off Monday, 03-28, 7 PM at Ayestaran

You are invited to a Miami, FL send-off of a petition containing over 1,500 signatures from Florida citizens urging the House of Representatives to vote against House Bill 7189 , the companion bill to Senate Bill 6, which would increase standardized testing of Florida students and threaten half of teachers’ pay.
We will be meeting Monday, 7 PM, at Ayestaran Cafeteria, 706 SW 27th Avenue. Parking is available in back.
The petition can be viewed online at:

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/votenosb6

Please rsvp by email or confirming at our new Facebook page:

Petition send-off on Facebook

Thank you. We look forward to seeing you there.




Letter and petition sent to Florida Senators, Wednesday, 03-23-10


Dear Senator,

I am delivering to you an updated petition list urging you to vote against Senate Bill 6. As you can see in the attached file, the number of signatures almost doubled to 631, and stands at 678 on the petition website at the time of this email.

Since the list of signatures is multiplying, please also consider visiting the petition sites directly at:

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/votenosb6, and


http://teachdade.wikispaces.com

The best part about the petition is the comments. One signer wrote that this bill would pay teachers for test scores on commission. (I agree with the signer that this is absurd because) The problem with the idea, it seems to me, is that sales people receive commission on products people choose to buy. However, students and parents are not buying what this bill is selling, more tests.
Since it is clear that students, parents and teachers do not want more testing, please do not impose this proposal on our communities.

Writing now as an individual, not as the petition organizer, may I suggest, in addition to the internships and apprenticeships mentioned in the petition, that you also consider other small government approaches to improving education like streamlining the ability for parents and students to change schools and classes, as these processes tend to be strewn with roadblocks. These changes would empower families and increase choice and competition. In addition, the legislature can further empower School Advisory committees to modify individual schools, so that families can have real choices between schools.

Oppose excessive standardized testing and increased state intervention in children's education. Parents, students and teachers don’t want them because they're not good for education. We need smaller government to give families more freedom and responsibility to make good choices. Preserve local control of Florida schools. Protect students and teachers from arbitrary state and district abuse.
Thank you.

Sincerely,

Otto Zequeira
Miami, FL
Parent, teacher and voter


Letter and petition sent to Florida Senators, Monday, 03-22-10, approximately 10:30 PM EST


Dear Senator:

Attached please find a petition with 34
2
signatures and scores of comments from Florida residents urging you to vote against Florida Senate Bill 6.

Since the list of signatures has been growing very quickly
(at the time of the email, it is at 364)
, please also consider visiting the petition sites directly at:

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/votenosb6, and


http://teachdade.wikispaces.com


Oppose excessive standardized testing and increased state intervention in children's education. Parents
,
students
and teachers
don't want them.

We need smaller government to give fami
lies
more freedom and responsibility to make good choices. Preserve local control of Florida schools. Protect students and teachers from arbitrary state and district abuse.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

Otto Zequeira
Miami, FL
Parent, teacher and voter



Speech at the Miami-Dade County School Board, 03-17-10


Good afternoon.

Please tell our legislators to vote against Florida Senate Bill 6. Oppose excessive standardized testing and increased state intervention in children's education. Preserve local control of Florida schools. Protect students and teachers from arbitrary abuse.

Visit the petition at teachdade.wikispaces.com
teachdade.w-i-k-i-spaces.com

SB 6 would take further control of the schools away from local communities, especially with regard to what is taught, and the pay and firing of teachers.

The bill aims to multiply the number of state- mandated, standardized tests by instituting end of course exams, and aims to base teacher pay and the firing of teachers on student standardized test scores.

We do not need more state control of education, we need less.

This School Board, steward of 15K of taxpayer money per student per year, more than enough to pay for the education of choice of every student in the system, has the moral obligation to fight this bill.

The state has trumpeted that 4th graders have improved their reading performance, but what they won't tell you is that the reading ability of 10th graders has actually declined, according to the St. Petersburg times. The reason why is very simple: standardization is low quality.

Parents and students alike agree that excessive emphasis is being placed on testing in the schools. Which parents and students have been consulted about this measure? None.

This School Board could do something now about test insanity. We have increased the number of tests taken by 9th graders over 50%, to a total of at least 16 standardized tests this year. Let's reduce them.

The FCAT is also dividing students into haves and have-nots. As Professor Brian Peterson of Florida International University has pointed out, Hispanic and African-American students are less likely to do well on standardized tests, and the increased emphasis on testing in SB 6 will unduly affect minority students and the predominantly minority teachers who teach them.

These students need more options like internships, apprenticeships, and bilingual education, not more testing.

Pressure is already on teachers to standardize their instruction, as if one size fits all, and this will worsen under SB 6. Placing dollar amounts to test scores will only further devalue education.

Bills like SB6 would accomplish what Scott Adams jokingly described about poor organizations in his book,
Dilbert, the Way of the Weasel: “You’ll never be held accountable for things that you can control, such as your effort and your dedication to the job. You will be accountable for the outcome of your efforts. And outcomes depend mostly on the screwups of others.” The people causing the screwups intend to point fingers at you, me, and our students.

It is clear that we do not need state government, working in conjunction with unconstitutional actions from the federal government telling us how to run our schools.

We need fewer tests, less state control, and more freedom and responsibility at our schools. Tell our senators to vote no to Senate Bill 6. Sign the petition at teachdade.wikispaces.com
teachdade.w-i-k-i-spaces.com


Otto Zequeira


Vote No to SB 6 (Essay)


Urge our Florida Senators to vote against Florida Senate Bill 6. Protect students and teachers from arbitrary state and district abuse. Oppose excessive standardized testing and increased state intervention in children's education. Preserve local control of Florida schools.

Sign the petition


SB 6 would take further control of the schools away from local communities, especially with regard to what is taught and learned, and the pay and firing of teachers. The bill aims to multiply the number of state-mandated, standardized tests by instituting end of course exams, and aims to base teacher pay and the firing of teachers on student standardized test scores. Authorizing more state intervention in schools would only make our schools worse. We do not need more state control of education, we need less.

Unlike others, I think that the real prize that is desired in SB6 is the minds of the children of the State of Florida, and we must defend them. Increased state power and standardized testing in education has hurt more than it has helped. Florida has trumpeted that 4th graders have improved their reading performance due to the FCAT, but what they won't tell you is that the reading ability of 10th graders has actually declined (see Pasco: Test scores fall as pupils rise). Young people are being adversely affected by testing mania over the course of their schooling. The reason why is very simple: standardization is low quality.

Parents and students alike agree that excessive emphasis is being placed on testing in the schools. For example, exam insanity increased the number of tests taken by 9th graders in Miami-Dade County Public Schools by 50%. My 9th graders are taking at least 16 standardized tests this year. One parent recently expressed concern that her daughter was undergoing "FCAT indoctrination". A 10th grade student told me that she was testing more than learning. Focusing on test scores will only further warp education.

Which parents and students have been consulted about this measure? None. Please note that this is the same government which committed the Florida Lottery bait and switch, using lottery income to replace, not supplement education funding, and making the Lottery basically a tax on the poor to fund education, because it is predominantly the poor who get into lines for tickets.

We’ve increased standardized testing in this country an estimated 10 to 20 times since the 1950’s. Wouldn’t it be great if learning had increased that amount? But it has not. However, the test companies and their political allies have certainly benefited.

The
Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test
is also dividing students into haves and have-nots, taking away opportunities from some and not others, and the same would happen with their teachers. As Professor Brian Peterson of Florida International University has succinctly pointed out, Hispanic and African-American students are less likely to do well on standardized tests, and the increased emphasis on testing in SB 6 will unduly affect minority students and the predominantly minority teachers who teach them. Students with low scores on exams are punished with remedial classes which do not work, and eliminate their class choices by up to 33%, 2 out of 6 classes in middle and high school. FCAT remedial strategies never mention bilingualism, a proven way to develop language. Intentional or not, SB6 is an attack on predominantly Hispanic and African-American communities like South Florida.

Murray Rothbard once wrote that morality requires choices, and elimination of choices keeps people from developing morally. That is one of the deepest effects of increased standardized testing: reduced options, and obstacles in the way of young people's maturity. On the contrary, students need more options like internships, apprenticeships, and bilingual education in Florida so that they can grow up to be good people, not good test-takers.

Sign the petition


Pressure is already on teachers to standardize their instruction, as if one size fits all, and this will worsen under SB 6. State control of teacher raises and firings would only exacerbate the common practice of rewarding teachers with higher level classes in exchange for obedience to curriculum dictates from above. Placing dollar amounts to test scores will only further devalue education.

With regard to managing teachers, W. E. Deming, an American, taught the Japanese to outperform us in performance quality by asking their employees for input on improvements, and valuing their employees through the elimination of employee evaluations. He went to Japan after many American companies would not listen to him. Apparently, the writers of this bill have not learned these lessons. Instead, bills like SB6 would accomplish what Scott Adams comically described about poor organizations in his book, Dilbert, the Way of the Weasel__: “You’ll never be held accountable for things that you can control, such as your effort and your dedication to the job. You will be accountable for the outcome of your efforts. And outcomes depend mostly on the screwups of others.” The people causing the screwups intend to point fingers at us.

Further, as the son of parents who came to the United States fleeing a country where all control of education was taken away from families, where children were separated from parents, and even sent to agricultural "schools" where they were forced to cultivate cane, these encroachments on the minds of young people by state government, using unconstitutional funding from federal government, raise even deeper concerns. Our country was built on the Constitutional guarantee of educational freedom, and SB 6 is an encroachment on our liberty, the minds of young people, and academic freedom.

This bill has been reported to be on a “fast track” in a time when Floridians are overwhelmed with concerns about their livelihoods. Why the hurry? As a politician recently stated regarding education and other “reform” matters, “Never let a good crisis go to waste”.

Whether SB6 is well-intentioned but wrong, selfish, or malignant, is is clear that we do not need state government, working in conjunction with unconstitutional actions from a federal government which got us into our current economic situation in the first place, telling us how to run our schools.

We need fewer tests, less state control, and more freedom and responsibility at our schools. Urge our Florida Senators to vote against Florida Senate Bill 6.

Sign the petition


Thank you.

Otto Zequeira


Articles

Commotion over SB 6 cleared the way for other dramatic education bills to pass unnoticed. April 20, 7:34 PMexternal image greydot.gifDade County Education Policy Examinerexternal image greydot.gifJennie Smith
YouTube - SB6 Protests in Miami-Dade
State employees, retirees worry about being nickel-and-dimed. Tallahassee.com, 04-18-10
Miami-Dade School Board gives Senate Bill 6 a thumbs down. Miami Herald, 04-14-10
Education bill a litmus test in Florida races. Miami Herald, 04-14-10
Critics of SB 6, the education bill, run gamut from tea partiers to teachers. St. Petersburg Times, 04-13-10
http://www.americateve.com/Multimedia/archive.php
David Rivera, A Mano Limpia 04-12-10, 0:55 http://www.americateve.com/Multimedia/archive_player.php?cpi=4496
http://www.elnuevoherald.com/2010/04/12/694881/escuelas-de-miami-dade-esta-abiertas.html
http://www.miamiherald.com/2010/04/13/1576499/state-teachers-union-targets-education.html
http://www.miamiherald.com/2010/04/12/1575266/teachers-students-to-continue.htmlVeto merit pay for teachers? Opinonzone, Palm Beach Post, 04-09-10
http://www.miamiherald.com/2010/04/10/157241
Schools brace for teacher 'sickout'. Miami Herald, 04-10-10
2/schools-brace-for-teacher-sickout.html
Protesters Call For Veto Of Teacher Pay Bill. justnews.com, WPLG, Channel 10, Miami.
Senate Bill 6 / House Bill 7189: Notes from personal meetings and pre-K-12 committee. Examiner.com, 04-04-10
Widely opposed teacher-tenure bill is on fast track in Florida Legislature. Miami Herald, 03-31-10
SB 6 Education Bill Is a Power Grab. Paula Dockery, The Ledger, 04-03-10
http://www.miamiherald.com/2010/04/03/1562425_p2/floridas-merit-pay-plan-for-teachers.html
http://www.miamiherald.com/2010/03/31/1555936/teachers-stage-massive-protest.html
http://www.miamiherald.com/2010/03/28/1551447/gop-ideology-driving-republican.html
The Answer Sheet - Disaster for Florida teachers: Senate Bill 6 . Washington Post, 3/24/10
Concerns aired over standards for teacher pay. MH, 03-25-10
School-reform bill advances in Florida Legislature. MH, 03-25-10
http://www.miamiherald.com/2010/03/25/1548077/anger-erupts-over-school-bills.html
http://www.miamiherald.com/2010/03/25/1548069/proposals-would-lead-to-fewer.html
Questions for lawmakers on teachers' pay overhaul. MH, 03-16-10
FEA: Thrasher Bill Unconstitutional, Hurts Inner-City Schools. WUSF, 03-17-10
Florida teachers' pay faces big overhaul. MH, 03-15-10
Teachers under state's gun. Palm Beach Post, 03-05-10
http://www.cafemom.com/answers/390311/Calling_all_teachers_in_the_site_will_you_please_sign_petition


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