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FEA: Tenure/merit pay bill is 'ruin' of Florida schools

Making official their opposition to the Republican-backed legislation that would keep teachers on annual contracts and tie half of their pay to student test results, the Florida Education Association this morning  held a press conference with several Florida teachers who warn the bill will be "the ruin of education" in Florida.

They argue that current law already provides a mechanism to get rid of ineffective teachers, no matter how long they've been teaching. They say it will discourage anyone from entering the profession, and will penalize many of the teachers who have contributed to the state's learning gains and rise in national rankings over the past few years. Education Week recently ranked Florida No. 8, even though it ranks No. 32 in state funding."

"Gov. Charlie Crist recently said that Florida is truly blessed to have such high-quality teachers," FEA president Andy Ford said. "But SB6 punishes those teachers who delivered many of our stunning education results."

Shari Lynn Gewanter, an elementary school teacher in Tallahassee, said she has spent all year doing extra tutoring with a kindergartener who is struggling with her letters.

"It's 120 days into the school, and finally she understands A, B and C," said Gewanter, an eight-year