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South Florida teachers plan to work together for election year clout

Wearing red, the leaders of three South Florida teachers unions announced Wednesday a new effort to work together.

Their first priority: getting people to vote in the Nov. 6 elections to reelect Florida judges and defeat Amendment 8, which they believe would divert tax dollars from public schools to religious institutions through vouchers. They also are supporting President Barack Obama and U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson.

The teacher unions care about who sits on the Florida Supreme Court, because lawsuits and appeals over state laws are often decided by the judges.

Beyond the Nov. 6 election, the three leaders said they want to partner on education policy, starting with the overuse of high-stakes testing, education funding and bridging the learning gaps among students.

Representing teachers in the Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach districts were John Tarka, administrator for the Broward Teachers Union; Karen Aronowitz, president of the United Teachers of Dade; and Debra Wilhelm, president of the Palm Beach Classroom Teachers Association.
“We are forming a powerful, unified voice for public education that needs to be heard throughout South Florida, in Tallahassee and in Washington, D.C. When we speak as one, we enhance our influence on behalf of the children and families we serve,” Aronowitz said.

More from Laura Isensee here.