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House lawmakers get security after hearing teacher tenure bill

A day after passing the Senate, the bitter battle on the issue of teacher tenure came to the House on Thursday and the meeting ended with sergeant-at-arms forming a barrier at the front of the committee room to protect lawmakers.

As time expired at the House PreK-12, Chairwoman Anitere Flores and Rep. Will Weatherford forced a vote on the tenure bill by cutting off debate, ignoring amendments and further public testimony. Rep. Marty Kiar, a Democrat and author of the amendments, objected fervently and tried using a procedural move to delay the bill. But Flores ignored him, prompting an outcry from Kiar and a warning from Flores that she would call security if the audience (and possibly Kiar) didn't respect decorum. The bill passed.

The packed committee room was largely hostile to the legislation, given that hundreds of public school teachers and students rallied outside the Capitol today. At the abrupt end of the meeting, a handful of security guards stood in front of the committee's dais like guards.


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Bryan Bouton

The Committee meeting today was a great reminder of that old axiom: "two things you don't want to see made: sausage and legislation".
Every amendment to PCB PT 10-02 was voted down along party lines. Every opportunity to speak passionately was met with calls for "decorum".
Andy Ford (FEA President) said it best when he described the process to a train rolling down the tracks...this bill is going to the floor no matter what anyone wants.


Bush 's brother, Neil Bush, co-founded a company called Ignite! Learning that created software used in Florida for FCAT test prep. The bill SB 6 was sponsored by state Sen. John Thrasher, the new head of Florida’s Republican Party. He got that post with the influential support of Florida’s former governor, Jeb Bush, who during his tenure leading the state, pushed through the legislature the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test. The FCAT was criticized for years in part for helping to turn school curriculum into a test preparation factory, complete with FCAT pep rallies to get kids excited before the test. State money was actually used for prep books, tests and special coaches. In fact, Bush’s brother, Neil Bush, co-founded a company called Ignite! Learning that created software used in Florida for FCAT test prep. What a small world.


If they need protection from their own constituents, perhaps they're heading down the wrong path.

Get a clue, legislators! You do need to get re-elected and we have long memories.


sad day ... but those who voted for this Bill, will see results in their next election...


If this bill passes perhaps they should withhold parents income tax check if their children do not pass standardized tests. Other things to consider.... Florida has critical teacher shortages in 6 subject areas including math and science. This bill will drive teachers out and keep teachers from coming to Florida. The tests they are gauging our salaries on have at this point not even been piloted. What if the tests are not credible? Like the FCAT that proved to create a test taking curriculum this only increased drop out rates in high school. How will teachers get credit if test scores are what their salaries are based upon annually. The drop out rate for new teachers is already at 50% in the first 5 years. That number will increase.


Sad...so sad that some politicians think they know more than their constituents (as a group), the citizens of Florida.


Thursday was a sad day indeed but the fight is not over yet. These legislators need to realize that when November comes we will remember how they voted. I would like to thank Alex Villalobos the only senator with the courage and integrity to do the right thing and fight for our schools and studends. The others need to start looking for employment because November does not look good for them.


Anyone know anything about Jeb Bush's involvement or ownership of Charter Schools in Florida or the nation??? I've heard he owns several. Why wouldn't he push though voucher programs and have an agenda that hurts public schools along with his brother George. So far Niel is involed with FCAT, Jeb is ivolved with Charter Schools, and George?? what pockets are his hands in?, Those Bush's are soooo shrewed, they know where the money is and just where to snatch it, right out from under our noses.

Karen McCann

I was in the gallery listening to debate on the Senate floor Tuesday and Wednesday. When the vote came down,I felt shell-shocked. So, OK, you're not getting it. Jeb's agenda, as was told on the Senate floor several times, is for Florida to lead the nation in educational reform. The reform he wants is to privatize education. Remember the voucher issue that he lost because NEA and AFT spent millions of teacher dues fighting it all the way to the Fl.Supreme Court!? Jeb is back with a vengeance and he is setting us up to FAIL. Then he can prove what worthless teachers we really are. The statement was made on the floor that Florida will lead the whole nation in educational reform. Sounds like a Presidential candidate's agenda to me, right? Oh, and by the way, did you hear Jeb's statement about our profession? He said, "SB6 would finally turn teaching into a real profession". Remember your right to vote!!! Karen, member, Alachua County Education Association - JOIN your union- NOW


why would our legislators want an educated populace?

an educated person would ask question and be a bother. an educated person may see the hypocrisy, venality, and pettiness in our legislators behavior. they could speak, write letters, and make themselves heard - a terribly thing!


Republicans never stand up for the general public's interest.
Very interesting statement by Jeb..."SB6 will turn teaching into a real profession." WHAT AN INSULT to all the teachers who put their heart and soul into their profession and get little support from the state and oftentimes the administration. And most certainly deserve the pay they get.
It is health care that is robbing us


...Very interesting statement by Jeb..."SB6 will turn teaching into a real profession." WHAT AN INSULT to all the teachers...

That is why I am retiring at the end of the year! I am sick of that attitude. I work twice as hard as my husband and make half of his salary. Something is just not right! Then I am not a "real" professional. I recently had a parent comment that I was a waste of taxpayer's money because her daughter told her it was my fault she was doing poorly...and her daughter doesn't lie.

Good luck finding an experienced calculus teacher! I have been a teacher for 31 years and planned to stay a few more years (I'm only 52 years old). I am only one of many that have had enough! There are 4 people from our math department leaving at the end of this school year. Talk about a shortage of math and science teachers? Just wait!


i think jvo is on to something. An educated public is harder to govern than an uneducated one.

Hilda King

I am not a schoolteacher BUT I have the highst respect for them. Legislators need to realize they need to search elsewhere for their shortfalls. Why punish the Teachers ???Take away what little they have. Have they no conscience. I certainly wont vote them back.


Taking tenure away from a teacher is like taking a badge away from a policeman.The professionalism.( Teacher for 34 years.)
When do we start burning books?


I was there on Thursday as a representative for teachers and had the opportunity to speak to the House, not that they were listening...well 5 members were. It's very frustrating to see so many who are directly affected by this bill oppose this bill, yet the R-House cannot be swayed. They obviously have their own agenda. Once again, education is not a priority nor are teachers respected for their hard work and higher education.

Elizabeth Lauscher

Deminish the role of a teacher, ahhhhhh... who will educate the next senator? statesman? firefighter? policeman?

Speaking of firefighters and police officers... cut their pay and benefits, why be the person who put his/her life on the line for YOU?

Pension plans are NOT for sale. Don't mess with our retirement.

Going back to teachers ... when is the last time YOU (our legistlators) were in a public school and had to deal with kids who had NO ethics/morals and YOU had to smile the entire class period while maintaining order in the classroom AND teaching a new concept? Have you seen kids take tests? There are some kids who are done within 15 minutes of the test .... they don't care ... and the powers that be think that teachers should be paid based on the child's test score? Also, REMEMBER, not all people are good test takers. Some people are "smart as a whip" but freeze when it comes to test taking.

ALL of the legislators should be SUBSTITUTE teachers in a public school (one that has been awarded a grade of C, D or F) for a week or more AND without special attention made to the status and see what it is like ... maybe then YOU the LAWMAKERS/BREAKERS would see what reality is.

As is right now, with what Florida is saying, who would want to spend the dollars in teacher education classes. Who would want to teach in a Florida public school? OR is Florida trying to say no more public school, only private education .... OR are you all saying that the schools that award teaching certificates are not doing their job? Unless YOU have been a teacher, YOU canNOT say anything about the profession.

sandra rosen

This bill is the death knell for public education in Florida. Who will want to be a teacher, especially in low performing schools? Our salaries are amongst the lowest in the nation. Our benefits are slowly being whittled away.
Don't the parents have any responsibility for their children?(i.e, making sure they're children are ready for school, assisting their children at home, etc). Are the teachers the only ones that are responsible?
If this passes, there will be a massive exodus of teachers. As it is teachers teaching 5 years or less leave the system at a rate of almost 50%.
Without credential pay, there will be less teachers furthering their education. And forget about Natioal Board certification. This whole situation just makes me sick to my stomach. What more can our infamous Legislature do to completely demoralize educators?

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Are the teachers the only ones that are responsible? Yeah, parents should be responsible too.

Luke Hamilton

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