Expect more retirement changes
The Florida Supreme Court's endorsement of public employee contributions to the state pension fund may embolden lawmakers and Gov. Rick Scott to pursue more changes in the state retirement system. Those changes -- such as moving new workers into a 401(k)-type plan -- may not come until after the 2014 elections. In fact, the future of the $127 billion state pension fund is likely to be a key issue in legislative contests as well as Scott's own bid for re-election. Public employee unions are already using the court decision as a rallying cry for their members, who often play a key role in organizing and getting the vote out for Democratic candidates. "It's time to organize," the Florida Education Association, a teachers' union, said in a Twitter message just minutes after the Supreme Court ruling upholding the 3 percent contributions. However, while the unions may pose a political threat, Scott and legislative leaders can tap their own base by arguing the changes to the public pension fund are designed to bring the system more in line with the private sector. In other words, they argue that public workers' benefits should be similar to private-sector workers, who increasingly don't have access to a pension or a 401(k) plan as generous as the state offers. Ron Meyer, a lawyer who represented the teachers in the lawsuit against the pension contribution, said the workers never disputed the fact that the state had the right to change retirement benefits for new employees. Instead, he said the challenge asserted the state essentially broke a "contract" it made with existing workers when it decided to halt the contributions in 1974. You can expect to hear more about that "broken" promise and its impact on public workers, ranging from teachers to firefighters to school bus drivers, as the 2014 elections approach.
Pension proposal gets cool reception
Time for a discussion on testing in Florida?
Teachers and lawmakers around the country are setting the bar for a conversation about the role tests play in American education. In Seattle, teachers at Garfield High School -- alma mater to Jimi Hendrix and Bruce Lee, among other notables -- have decided to boycott the district's standardized tests, calling them a waste of time and money. Their action, which has spread to at least one other school, has generated a debate over testing and its role. Down in Texas, meanwhile, state Rep. Jim Pitts -- a conservative Republican who heads the House Budget committee -- has sparked talk in his own way by zeroing out the state's standardized testing budget. This is the same state where districts by the hundred came out calling for a reduction in high-stakes testing after its now-former state education chief agreed Texas was testing too much.
Here in Florida, the topic continues to get an airing, too. Several school boards have called for a reduction in testing, and some districts (notably Duval) have taken steps on their own to limit tests administered locally. High ranking lawmakers, meanwhile, have insisted that testing is a key part of the state's outcomes-based accountability system, a position new commissioner of education Tony Bennett shares. Does Florida need dramatic steps, such as what's going on in Seattle and Austin, though, to really generate a meaningful discussion about the value and the limitations of testing? If so, who's going to step up and make it happen?
Why Seattle teachers boycotted the standardized test
System is driving out good teachers
Why VAM is doomed to fail
St. Lucie Schools officials, teachers reach tentative agreement on key items (Vanessa Tillman quoted)
Health insurance still hot topic for St. Lucie teachers, district officials (Vicki Rodriguez quoted)
Broward school workers going elsewhere for health insurance (BTU mentioned)
Broward School Board questions district's class reduction strategy
State plan to help charter schools irks Palm Beach School Board
Refinancing could reset Brevard school board plan to cut costs
Flagler class size plan includes more teachers, online classes
Common sense prevails as Hillsborough School Board rejects armed guard plan
Education chief should step in on testing snag
MLK on the purpose of education
How $1.9 Million from Race to the Top grant was used for propaganda
Jeb Bush’s foundation wants Florida to ignore crony capitalism on charter schools
When poetry meets the Common Core
Charter schools now big business nationwide
Jindal’s campaign to smash public education in Louisiana
Oklahoma parents don’t like Jeb Bush’s Florida model
Backed by state money, Georgia tax-credit vouchers go to schools barring gays
Not all private schools are on the up and up
Scott's involvement in UF president decision under review
Florida unemployment dips to 8 percent though the state loses 15,300 jobs
Analysis: 201,000 in Florida didn't vote because of long lines
Felons should have civil rights automatically restored
Scott's voting turnaround puts him on the right path
Scott appointing fewer black judges than Bush, Crist
Major ethics bill unveiled
Ethics reform is long overdue in Tallahassee
Gun makers feast on Florida tax breaks
Tallahassee lawmaker proposes 7 percent pay raises for state workers
Lawmakers face big questions in health care debate
Cannon’s new client just scored in Medicaid privatization push
Politics mustn't bog down Everglades progress
Obama gives bold vision of American future
Obama starting second term on aggressive pace
PolitiFact: Obama has fulfilled or made good progress on most first-term campaign promises
Poll finds most back Obama, with a split on party lines
In reversal, House GOP agrees to lift debt limit
Educational Leadership - The ways teachers can lead are as varied as teachers themselves.....
Teachers assume a wide range of roles to support their school and student success. Since teachers exhibit leadership in multiple (sometimes overlapping) ways, they often serve as leaders among their peers.
Some leadership roles are formal with designated responsibilities. Other more informal roles emerge as teachers interact with their peers. The variety of roles ensures that teachers can find ways to lead that fit their talents and interests. Whether these roles are assigned formally or shared informally, teacher leaders shape the culture of their schools, by building the entire school's capacity to improve student learning, and influence practice among their peers.
So what are some of the leadership roles available to teachers? The following 10 roles are a sampling of the many ways teachers can contribute to their schools' success. Click here to learn more about each of these options.
1. Resource Provider
2. Instructional Specialist
3. Curriculum Specialist
4. Classroom Supporter
5. Learning Facilitator
7. School Leader
8. Data Coach
9. Catalyst for Change
|The Prize Patrol Finds the Winner: Who knew a few computer clicks and a membership card activation could lead to a free vacation. Ashley VanHolten is the winner of the FEA/ ACCESS membership card activation contest. Watch the FEA Prize Patrol visit.|