The Brian Mudd Show

The Brian Mudd Show

There are two sides to stories and one side to facts. That's Brian's mantra and what drives him to get beyond the headlines.Full Bio

 

What’s in Governor DeSantis’ Teachers’ Bill of Rights 

What’s in Governor DeSantis’ Teachers’ Bill of Rights 

Bottom Line: On Monday Governor DeSantis called for what he called a Teacher’s Bill of Rights. Quoting DeSantis upon announcing the proposal it would empower educators to be leaders in their classrooms, enact paycheck protection, reduce terms for school board members from twelve to eight years, and invest another $1 billion in teacher pay. But what specifically is within the plan which will be taken up by the Florida Legislature in March’s state legislative session? The proposal is broken down into four separate sections. Under the first there are four specific areas of reform targeted by the governor. As stated, the first section of the proposal would: 

  • Allow teachers to file administrative and civil complaints if a district or school directs a teacher to violate Florida law 
  • Protect teachers from litigation and professional practices sanctions, when they take action to restore the safety or educational atmosphere of a classroom 
  • Provides the Florida Department of Education additional authority to initiate investigations into potential rights violations of students, parents or teachers 
  • Clarifies teachers have a choice as to whether to join a union or not to and that those who choose not to can’t be subjected to retaliation 

The second section states: 

  • Unions would be prohibited from directly having dues deducted from paychecks 
  • Prior to joining a teachers’ union, public employees would sign an acknowledgment that Florida is a right-to-work state 
  • Would ban union business on public property 
  • Would prevent union leaders from earning more than the highest paid member represented by the union 
  • Mandatory union notification of member costs annually 

The third section states: 

  • Requirement that a school union represent at least 60% of employees eligible for representation 
  • Require school unions to provide annual audited financial reports to the state 

Section four states: 

  • Term limits for school board members reduced from twelve to eight years 
  • Prohibits school board members from accessing funds created through the collective bargaining process 

Some of this is clear and is easily understood. Some of it is a bit procedural. All of the reforms point in a similar direction. Reducing the influence of teachers’ unions over teachers and our school districts while increasing transparency and accountability in the process. Over 70% of Florida’s public-school teachers are in a union, making these changes profound within the public education community. And in my opinion, they’re on point. Teachers’ unions have long had an outsized influence in our schools, with the articulated view that they, the union leaders, should determine what happens in the classroom as opposed to parents. The debate over this proposal is likely to become loud in the leadup to the consideration in March. It’s a worthwhile fight. 


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