Gov. Rick Scott is in a tight spot with teachers.
To score points with rank-and-file educators, Scott has made $2,500 pay raises for classroom teachers a top budget priority.
But to stay in their good graces — and possibly win their votes in 2014 — Scott will need to bat down a number of education proposals moving through the Florida Legislature, including the hot-button “parent trigger” bill and a pitch to increase facilities funding for charter schools.
There’s just one problem. Opposing those bills will land Scott in the doghouse with Republicans and put him at odds with former Gov. Jeb Bush, whose nonprofit foundation has driven Florida’s education agenda for more than a decade.
What’s a governor with sagging poll numbers to do?
“He can’t do everything the teachers’ union wants or he would lose support among Republicans,” said Brian Peterson, a Florida International University professor and editor of The Miami Education Review, an online newsletter. “But he is going to have to take a more moderate stance on education issues.”