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Atwater says he's 'disappointed' in Charlie Crist

Senate President Jeff Atwater's comment on Gov. Charlie Crist's veto,  of SB-6:

“I am disappointed that today Governor Crist chose to reverse direction and veto SB 6, a bold education reform to reward Florida’s quality teachers and ensure Florida’s children are receiving the quality education they deserve. Quality teachers are the unsung heroes of the classroom and should be richly compensated for the learning gains they instill in Florida’s children. 

SB 6 was the culmination of months of study, public participation, and debate.  At each step of the legislative process, testimony was received and amendments were offered and adopted.  The Florida Senate worked closely with Governor Crist’s Education Commissioner Eric Smith and maintained an open door to all interested parties.

New ideas of reform require boldness and a willingness to attempt change. This reform was recognized by education experts nationwide as groundbreaking. Florida had the chance to lead the nation with a 21st century education system. Today, that opportunity was denied.

Nevertheless, the Florida Senate’s commitment to serve Floridians and provide an environment where Florida’s families, businesses, and communities can succeed has not wavered. 

There is much work left to be done this session.  Over the remaining weeks the Florida Senate will focus on passing a fiscally prudent, balanced budget that funds critical programs, invests in education, and protects Florida’s fiscal future.”


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I would like to know which amendments were 'adopted' certainly none of the amendments that were voted down by the republican majority, which as far as I can recall were each and every one.

Sore losers, that's all.


When was the public participation and months of study? I also don't remember which ammendments were adopted. The reason it was groundbreaking is no other State in the nation has ever tried to pass legislation that is unconstitutional and takes power away from local governments.


Not to mention that most of the experts, including one of the people who piloted NCLB (who has since reversed her opinion), said that it was a bad piece of legislation. People across the country were calling us idiots because of SB6.

Carol Jackson

As you can see by the comments in this article, it isn't over yet, the agenda still remains the same. If Atwater can't see that this "reform" isn't the direction the state of Florida should be taking then he needs to be removed from office. Hopefully that will happen at election time.


Chris, you are right. Even during the final debate, amendments to ensure that teachers wouldn't be impacted by student gains if they took maternity or sick leave, or were deployed overseas to serve in the military, were voted down by the majority party. Another amendment to ensure that Special Ed teachers wouldn't be judged by learning gains also failed.

How do these legislators justify voting against pregnant moms, sick people, soldiers, and teachers of the disabled? It's just wrong.

Kim Genovese

As teacher, presently registered Republican, I was watching closely to see who to vote for before I have to leave the party. I will register as an Independent so I am not hoodwinked by the present leadership. When a Republican promotes a bill that goes against the party platform to increase the size and importance of Government, I know I can no longer trust the party. Thank God, Gov. Crist realized that the will of the people was not served by Senate Bill 6.

Lisa Bryson

"Quality teachers are the unsung heroes of the classroom and should be richly compensated for the learning gains they instill in Florida’s children." So says Atwater in his comment. He's right -- WE ARE THE UNSUNG HEROES. We are "highly qualified." But we have never, and probably never WILL be "richly compensated" (don't we wish!!). Who out there thinks that if this absurd bill had been passed that ANY OF US teachers would be richly compensated??? What kind of joke is that? This bill would have been used to penalize, not reward reward teachers!! What a spin... This hilarious fellow needs to be ousted.

Karen Minks

If he is so concerned about our salary why has our money been cut from Tallahasse for the last several years!


Conveniently, Atwater is termed-out! but running for CFO. Dist. 25 is now for grabs between Rep Skidmore who voted NO on SB 6 and Rep Elyn Bogandoff who voted Yes on SB 6 . Remember that when you vote in November!

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What proponents don't realize about this bill is the drastic way that teachers would have revised their classroom policies. No bathroom passes, no assemblies, no release from class for any reason (including athletics!) because they would want to maximize their time with each student. And what about the parents? Who is really ensuring that they send their student to school everyday and that the students are actually prepared to work. Truancy is getting to be ridiculous! Additionally many students are still not bringing the supplies that they need to class. With our budget being cut there is no money to supply these students and everyone who knows a teacher realizes how much of their salary they spend to buy things like paper, pencils, supplementary materials, markers, and the list goes on.

So in effect: Cut school budgets, fail to provide the basics of technology and supplies, fill the classrooms (and count on students being absent!), and have countless classroom interruptions. How can teachers work effectively under those conditions?

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