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Educating From the Heart

The Florida Education Association’s monthly podcast is your source for lively discussion from educators, parents and students on the issues that matter most to public education in Florida. Each episode you will hear the struggles and the successes in our schools directly from rank-and-file educators as well as local union leaders from around the state.

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Art Makes the World Go Round

Episode 19

We kick off this year in conversation with Alex McKean, an art teacher from St. Johns County. As you’ll hear her explain, even pre-kindergarten art class is not immune from the culture wars certain politicians are waging on public education.

Nonetheless, she has a hopeful vision for the future and works to make sure her art classroom is a place where all students have fun while learning new skills and gain confidence in themselves.

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The Value of Experience

Episode 18

As the third Covid-impacted school year draws to a close, we sat down with two experienced teachers to get their take on this school year and the importance of cultivating positive relationships with parents and students.

It’s a heartwarming discussion that highlights the passion and dedication of Florida’s teachers and shines a light on the value of experience.

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Crossing the Divide

Episode 17

While education should not be partisan, it is most definitely political. From dictating what can, and cannot, be taught to developing laws that constrain pay raises for experienced teachers, politicians have inserted themselves into every aspect of public education in Florida.

For the past few legislative sessions, members of FEA’s Republican Cadre have been working to build relationships with their legislators in the hopes of influencing legislation in a positive way.

On this episode of Educating from the Heart, we sit down with three members of the cadre to discuss their challenges and successes and the importance of every educator joining in union to advocate for what is best for students.

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Assess the Test, Part II

Episode 16

The impact standardized testing has on students, educators and school communities extends long beyond test day.

In Part II of Assess the Test, we move beyond talking about the tests themselves and discuss the overall accountability system.

Join us for this exploration of how 20 years of “accountability” in Florida have drained the joy out of teaching and learning.

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Assess the Test, Part I

Episode 15

Change is coming to Florida’s system of standardized testing. Parents, students and educators alike are wondering if we will see the significant changes that are needed to create a system that actually works towards improving teaching and learning or if this will be just the same old testing regime with a new name.

Join us for part one of a two part series where we Assess the Test.

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Teaching Accurate History

Episode 14

While some politicians have tried to limit what students can learn when it comes to America’s history, Rep. Gerladine Thompson (D-Orlando) has been advocating for a fuller teaching of Black history in Florida’s schools for years. We sat down with her recently to discuss why this issue is so important to her and why students need to be taught Black history year-round, not just on special occasions like Dr. King’s birthday or Black History Month.

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Forbidden Knowledge

Episode 13

Academic freedom is under attack on the campuses of Florida’s colleges and universities, perhaps none more so than the University of Florida. Recently, we sat down with three university faculty to discuss the current attacks, gain an historical perspective and learn what steps all of us can take to fight these attacks on academic freedom.

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The Power of Something Bigger

Episode 12

NEA and AFT presidents Becky Pringle and Randi Weingarten join us to talk about the tangible benefits of union membership like public service loan forgiveness and the dynamic power that comes when there is alignment between the national, state, and local unions and rank-and-file members.

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Unity, Action and Power

Episode 11

At Florida Education Association’s 2021 Delegate Assembly, we sat down with the newly re-elected leadership of FEA to discuss the challenges facing education in Florida right now and how unions can help to overcome those challenges as well as the officers’ vision for what public education should look like in the years ahead.

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Self Evident Truth

Episode 10

Educators believe training students to think critically involves lessons that dive deep to explore all sides of the issue. However, a recent rule passed by the State Board of Education restricts what students can be exposed to. This type of censorship hurts students and educators alike. For this month’s episode of Educating from the Heart, we sat down with Megan Young, a high school English teacher in St. Johns County to talk about the new rule impacts teaching and learning in her classroom.

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Be the Change

Episode 9

Being an educator is always hard work. As we enter the third school year impacted by Covid, being an educator is harder than ever. Before the start of the 2021-22 school year, we sat down with a veteran high school history teacher to discuss the upcoming school year. Filled with equal parts optimism and concern for the year ahead, Elizabeth Rasmussen shares the importance of taking charge, engaging in advocacy and being the change she wants to see.

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Show Me the Money

Episode 8

Florida’s fiscal year starts on July 1 and for the first time our state’s budget exceeds $100 billion. Despite the record level of funding, this budget again budget fails veteran teachers, the experienced professionals we’re struggling to keep in classrooms, and it fails to reward the support staff who are essential to educating our students. You’ll hear details on the new state budget including what it will mean for student, educators, and schools along with a discussion of how educators can regain control of the profession moving forward.

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Vouchers for All? Buyer Beware

Episode 7

Buried on the Florida Department of Education website is on sentence that informs parents diplomas from private schools that accept vouchers might not be considered valid by colleges or employers. Unfortunately, many students and parents find out too late that voucher school education leaves them unprepared for life after school. In this episode, we talk to a parent whose son fell victim to such a school as well as an education advocate who helps students and parents who suffer in Florida’s voucher schools.

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Vouchers for All?

Episode 6

For years, the Florida legislature has been chipping away at public education in an attempt to have a wholly privatized system. This legislative session, House Bill 7045 will provide for a massive expansion of vouchers to unaccountable private and religious schools. In the first episode of a two-part series, we explore the harm that continued privatization of schools inflicts on Florida’s most vulnerable students and communities.

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If It Ain't Broke, Don't Fix It

Episode 5

Promises made should be promises kept, but a bill moving through the Florida Senate now would break the promise of retirement security for educators by undermining the Florida Retirement System. Three educators sit down to discuss this very important issue.

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Let's Get Ready to Bubble!

Episode 4

You will not want to miss this month’s podcast where three powerful education advocates, including UTD President Karla Matz, sit down to discuss this year’s standardized tests, whether there should be any high-stakes consequences and if students and parents should just opt out of the state testing altogether.

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Annual Contract Dilemma & A Shot in the Arm

Episode 3

During this pandemic, teachers and support staff have demonstrated loyalty to their students and public education. But, this loyalty is not being reciprocated. In this episode, we’ll hear from an annual contract teacher about how her lack of job security impacts herself, her colleagues and their students. In the second segment, the lack of loyalty extended to educators will be explored with two teachers from Brevard discuss the rollout of the Covid vaccine and Gov. DeSantis’ decision to set aside CDC recommendations to prioritize educators in vaccine distribution.

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Payable Divisions

Episode 2

How would you feel about working a job for 10 -15 years and a new employee without comparable experience is hired to work the same job at your current salary? Florida’s experienced teachers find themselves in just that predicament after the passage of the Teacher Salary Allocation (TSA). On this episode we’re joined by educators from three school districts who share the pros and cons of the TSA and what actions they say state legislators need to take to make all teachers whole.

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Covid Conundrum

Episode 1

We talk with members and leaders from the Alachua County Education Association and Broward Teachers Union. Hear firsthand how educators are working against all odds to keep students safe and healthy while also providing the best education possible. All that, and more as we tackle how to grapple with this Covid Conundrum.

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