May 2012 e-Advocate

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In This Issue

  1. 736 Evaluation
  2. Protect Your Rights
  3. Stand4Change Day on May 4
  4. Exclusively for Members
  5. Spotlight Your School
  6. Trends


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Dear FEA Member,

Take a stand. Stop bullying.

Today is Stand4Change Day, May 4, 2012. Encourage your students to join others around the nation and take part in Stand4change Day, a national effort to highlight the bullying issue. At noon on May 4, stand for five minutes in your classrooms, lunchrooms and other school facilities to show your shared commitment to end bullying in schools. It is an action that should serve to highlight the issue in a significant way and one that allows students to buy in.

Learn more about the effort, and register your school as a participant.

Then, join the effort to get 1 million kids to see the new movie, "Bullying".

If you haven't you seen the movie, take a moment to read the reviews and see this powerful film. It’s one that all middle and high school students, parents, and educators need to see.  The National Education Association (NEA) and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) are working together to create a bully-free environment for schools across the nation. Find resources for your students.


These days, it takes hard work and an overwhelming commitment to stay on top of your job. But it is your love for Florida’s students and dedication to your school and union that we want to acknowledge. The officers and staff of the Florida Education Association would like to take a moment to thank you.  The FEA joins the NEA in celebrating Teacher Appreciation Week, May 7-11, and National Teacher Day on May 8th . It is a great way to focus the entire community on how teachers and ESPs help students succeed in school and in life. Share your story with your friends and neighbors.

As you prepare for the months ahead, please make sure that you are able to receive the e-Advocate in your email inbox so FEA can stay in touch with you throughout the summer. You will want to be kept up to date as we head into the new school year.

Don’t forget to take check out your member benefits. You’ll enjoy your time off even more when you stretch those vacation dollars a bit farther with our member discount programs.

1. 736 Evaluation: A challenge we will continue to fight

The end of the school year is normally a period of slowing down and wrapping up last minute lessons and paperwork. Instead, it has become a stressful time thanks to the 736 evaluations imposed by Governor Rick Scott and the legislature.

Your school district is most likely struggling with the implementation and mandated costs associated with 736. That certainly creates difficulty for teachers dealing with FCAT and now the outcome of their evaluations.

ESPs, many who haven’t seen a raise in years, are eyeing more budget cuts as districts scrape up money to cover the costs. In some parts of the state, ESPs are defending against increased attempts at privatization, which has become a key, though misguided consideration for districts looking to resolve fiscal concerns.

Gov. Rick Scott and legislative leaders will tell you they restored $1 billion to the education budget  to help offset those costs. But Scott and legislative leaders won’t talk about  the $1.3 billion that they slashed from the budget last year and how this budget won't replace the 1,400 teacher and 4,000 ESP jobs that were sacrificed. It won’t restore the lost programs for students. The budget is far from adequate funding and far from a true commitment and investment in our children. (Read more)

FEA members reviewing teacher evaluationsThat’s why the FEA is working with your local union to identify effective evaluation models. Our bargaining specialists are developing strategies to assist in local negotiations to lessen the impact of SB 736.  The FEA is also in the process of creating an Evaluation Toolkit. Ensure that you receive an accurate assessment with Evaluate this!

Also read: Senate Bill 736 Fight Continues with FEA Member Lobbying 
Endorse the National Resolution on High Stakes Testing

Watch for the FEA Advocate for more information on how the FEA and members are responding to SB 736 and recent changes in education. The newly designed Spring 2012 Advocate magazine arrives later this month.

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2.  Protect Your Rights: Voter suppression on the rise 

If you don’t feel that the people in office are doing the job they were elected to perform, then the months of August and November present two opportunities for change. The Florida Primary will be held on August 14 and the general election on November 6.

Suppressing your voteBut casting your ballot may not be as easy as it has been in the past. Voting rights are under attack as state lawmakers revise election guidelines under the pretext of preventing voter fraud. During the 2011 and 2012 legislative sessions, numerous states enacted restrictive voting measures that would ultimately make it more difficult for citizens, particularly African-Americans, the elderly, students and people with disabilities, to vote.  

Over thirty states have considered changes that would require voters to present government-issued photo ID. Studies suggest that up to 11 percent of voters lack such ID, and would be required to navigate the administrative roadblocks and costs to obtain it or forfeit their right to vote entirely.  These measures will have an impact on state and national elections. Find out how your rights might be violated

Also read: Why the Presidential Elections Should Matter to Teachers and ESPs 

More resources:   For the Classroom  |  AFT's Elections Matter   | NEA’s Education Votes

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3.  Stand4Change Day

Stand4change Oppose Bullying imageThe new film, “Bully” has captured national attention and sparked conversations about the seriousness and prevalence of bullying among young and old. The outcome has evolved into a grassroots campaign to get 1 million kids to see this important film. “This movie is a jarring wake-up call for anyone who didn’t realize the implications of bullying.  No one can watch this movie and not come away changed,” said Dennis Van Roekel, president of the National Education Association (NEA). “So we watch a movie and our emotions get stirred, now what?  It can’t stop with the movie. As educators, we are leading the way to create bully-free environments so students can be safe and thrive. Other adults have a responsibility to join with us to help students and put a stop to bullying.”

In response¸ NEA, AFT and FEA are asking teachers, ESPs and students to take a stand on Friday, May 4, by participating in Stand4Change Day  
Find anti-bullying resources here

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The Spring 2012 edition of The Advocate is heading your way.

The Advocate (FEA)Watch your mailbox for the new redesigned full color magazine version of The Advocate.
We’ve added new sections and a lot more information about FEA and what’s happening
with its members. We hope you will enjoy the new look and articles contained in the
2012 Spring Edition of The Advocate!

In this edition:
*Find out how members are working together in the Local Union Spotlight
*Get the latest on the new DOE rankings
*Explore what’s next in evaluations in The Fight Against SB 736 Continues
*Read what a Texas style reform means for higher education
*Meet the latest FEA Retired grant winners

If you’re not on The Advocate mailing list,  send us an email to request The Advocate.

Exclusively for Members

Spotlight Your School


FlowersMother’s Day is
May 13. Why not save  on Mom’s gift with FEA member benefits? You can save up to $180 a year by taking advantage of member discounts when gift shopping. The average adult buys over 30 gifts a year on birthdays, holidays, weddings, you name it. Log in now.


Emphasize the positive aspects of Florida public schools and your students with the Florida School Boards Association video contest.
First prize is $5000.  The deadline is May 7th.
Find more information here. Download the contest flyer.

Have you received your FEA Trends e-newsletter? It was emailed earlier this week. Trends provides a glimpse at the latest research and policy changes that may have an impact on your profession. Reading the Trends will help you better understand and serve the students in your schools. A copy of Trends is emailed every 6 weeks. If you missed your copy, click here to find some of the highlighted research.



























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