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Crist backs union-busting education bill

TALLAHASSEE — The governor who brags about coming from a family of educators said he's ready to sign a bill slammed by critics as a union-busting assault on public school teachers.

The so-called "teacher tenure" bill, which makes it easier to fire teachers and ties pay increases to student test scores, is so controversial it narrowly passed the Senate on Wednesday in a 21-17 vote.

"This is a bill that really focuses on trying to help children and encouraging better teachers," Gov. Charlie Crist said hours after the Senate took what Republican lawmakers called a historic vote for education reform. "It pays better teachers more, and that just seems like the right thing to do to me."

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