Miami schools media specialist Karen Herzog, troubled by legislation that promises radical changes to teacher tenure, job security and other aspects of Florida education, has written an angry letters to Florida legislators.
- Provide competitive salaries. If you do not give teachers decent pay (and that should be determined where they live and by their bargaining unit), then many bright and young teachers will not enter into the field. Who could afford to save or budget their monies or take out a mortgage with a varying pay scale year to year? How could you tie a teacher's salary to the FCAT test? Since I live in Miami, I pay $4,000 for my homeowner's insurance on a small home Do you pay that in your area where you live? YOU WILL CONTINUE TO SEE POOR TEACHERS IF YOU DO NOT PAY THEM ADEQUATELY AND THAT IS WHAT I AM SEEING TODAY AS A VETERN TEACHER.
- I am evaluated every year. Work with the union and let the school districts create a better plan to get rid of the so called "ineffective teachers". SPEAK TO YOUR EXCELLENT TEACHERS around the state to GET MORE FEEDBACK!
- Higher degree incentives: I earned three masters: English from FIU, an MFA from the University of Miami in Communications, and MLS (Masters in Library Science from University of South Florida because of two reasons: the incentive extra pay and the understanding that in order to be an effective teacher one must continue learning. Fresh ideas create a stimulating teacher.
- FCAT does not teach critical thinking skills or promote reading or for that matter, the life long learner. As a media specialist, our students are not reading. Teachers say to me: "The reason I can't come to the library as much is because I have all these FCAT prompts." And I see a difference in how our students learn because they are not readers. AND I continue to provide promotions for our students- speakers, authors, book exchanges, contests in addition to my other duties to get them to read. In addition, for no extra money, I am working towards Florida Power Library even though I will be retiring in 3 years.
- Hire veteran retired teachers to help the younger teachers who are not interning or reestablish internships for all new teachers as in the past. I see very poor management skills because of this issue.
- Change the tax base in Florida. Property taxes are not going to provide you with quality education funding.
- Tenure- I am observed every year. Perhaps have rotating APS and Principals or committees (again this could be your retired teachers who have been outstanding in the classroom) to observe teachers. It is important for a teacher to develop seniority. Think about your profession...doesn't seniority matter on what committee you get assigned to...????
- And last, but not least: Tying FCAT tests or standardized tests to teacher salaries is both unfair and abusive to the hard working teacher. If you have children please think about this question I am about to ask you. Have all your children learned at the same time the same way? How could you allow a teacher's salary to be a part of that? Each year there are different students with different levels and multiple personal issues. We should consider to tie your salary to the home sessions you miss and how many bills you don't pass for the state.
- Put more money into your libraries. We are falling behind because of the budget. cuts and some libraries will never recover. Our libraries are becoming obsolete and our students need the resources and personnel that has been eliminated because of the budget cuts. Please understand that reading is tied into the student's performance on any test you administer.