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Episode 20: Freedom to Learn

Like most Floridians, Charlie Crist and Karla Hernandez believe every child in Florida should have the freedom to learn and to thrive. Together, they have a plan to improve the lives of Florida’s students and educators alike. In this month’s episode of Educating from the Heart, we talk with them about how they will increase educators’ pay and retirement benefits and lower healthcare costs while also making sure educators have the time, resources and freedom they need to do their jobs.

Guests 

Congressman Charlie Crist, candidate for governor 

United Teachers of Dade President Karla Hernandez, candidate for lieutenant governor  

Transcript 

Andrew Spar, FEA President: Hi, this is FEA president Andrew Spar. To stay on top of all the latest news and issues impacting our public schools, be sure to follow FEA on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. For more information on this podcast, visit FEAweb.org/podcast. 

Sharon Nesvig: You’re listening to Educating from the Heart. Thank you for joining our lively conversations with support professionals, parents and students as they share issues that matter most in our public schools. Here are your hosts, Tina Dunbar and Luke Flynt. 

Tina Dunbar, Host: Welcome back to Educating from the Heart. I’m Tina here with Luke, and we’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about voting, and we’re watching for our vote by mail ballots. Luke, have you received your mail ballot?

Luke Flynt, Host: I am so excited, Tina, because not only have I received my vote by mail ballot, on my ballot are two people at the top of the ticket who we know will support students, educators, and public education. We sat down with them recently for episode 20 of our podcast with Charlie Crist and Karla Hernandez.  

Tina: FEA President Andrew Spar kicks off our podcast conversation.

Andrew Spar, FEA President: So, it is so exciting today to have the next governor of the state of Florida join us, Charlie Crist. And as an educator what we know about Charlie Crist is when he was governor, he chose to stand on the side of teachers, staff, and students in the state of Florida at a really crucial point in public education in the state of Florida. He understands the importance of pay, being able to pay your rent, pay for your bills. He understands the importance of making sure you have the right to do your job in the classroom.

He’s someone who wants to stop the teacher and staff bashing and lift up those of us who work in our public schools. And so much so that he put a teacher on the ticket. So, Congressman Crist, why’d you put a teacher on the ticket?

Congressman, Charlie Crist: Because I’m smart. No, seriously, Andrew, thank you so much. It’s great to be with you and your membership and teachers all across the state and, you know, people that help out in so many other ways in the cafeteria and helping get our kids to school safely.

You know, we have a shortage right now, 9,000 when you couple teachers and support staff together. And that’s just a crying shame to me. And by picking Karla to be the lieutenant governor, the next lieutenant governor of Florida, I wanted to make a statement about how important teachers are, the difference they make in our lives and the lives of our children is significant, to say the least.

And so, I thought that by picking somebody of her caliber with the great experience and breadth and depth of her experience that she has. Being a teacher, yes, but being a special ed teacher, as well really hit my heart, and you and I have talked about that, and it shows me the goodness of Karla Hernandez.

And that representation on this ticket, I’m enormously proud of. Of course, Val Demings, our nominee for the United States Senate. I think we have a great opportunity this year to do what’s right for Florida, to do what’s right for teachers, to do what’s right for public education.

I’m a public school kid. I graduated from St. Pete High. I graduated from one of our great state universities, Florida State. And I just think we need to reinvest in the foundation of equal opportunity in America, and that to me is public education.

Tina: Okay. Thank you very much. There have been a lot of changes in education policy over the past four years. Please assess Governor DeSantis’s leadership in education, and what makes your plan the right plan right now for students and educator?

Charlie: Well, first and foremost, he’s been a disaster. You know, I don’t think he, uh, cares about education. I don’t think he care specifically about public education. And that’s heartbreaking to me. As I said, you know, I’m a public school kid myself, but more than that, you know, I had three sisters growing up, and two of my three sisters were public school teachers in Pinellas County.

My father, although a family physician, served on the Pinellas County School Board and was chairman of the board. I minored in education at FSU. I mean, it’s in my DNA. I can’t help it. And so I am drawn to making sure that we’re doing what’s right for our kids and our teachers support staff throughout the state of Florida.

I mean, you have a great president, Andrew’s an amazing man, and, you know, the membership, you all deserve to be treated with respect, with decency. So that’s my plan is to do exactly that, to make sure that we raise your salary. You know, we’re the third largest state in America, and we’re paying our teachers 48th or 49th out of 50 states. That’s embarrassing. And it’s gotta stop. And with the Crist Administration, Crist-Hernandez administration, it will stop and working with FEA and your membership, I mean, everybody get out and vote. It is so critically important.

And to women: he’s trying to take away your right to choose. In fact, he’s already done it. He signed a bill that was horrific. Horrific. And doesn’t even have exceptions for rape or incest. I mean, that’s barbaric. So, I know the women vote’s gonna be huge this year. It already has been in Kansas and in Sarah Palin’s race in Alaska. I mean, you know, two very red states. And yet the women vote turned them both blue. It’s remarkable. It’s gonna happen here in Florida in 2022.

Luke: All right. So for those of us who have been around for a while, I started teaching in the early two thousands, and I remember your tenure as education commissioner, so appreciate that. And I was still teaching in the classroom when you vetoed Senate Bill six, which was just a, a wonderful way of showing that you understood what teachers and support staff needed. Looking forward, what will your first official action be as governor when it comes to education?

Charlie: Well, when it comes to education is returning respect to educators, because that doesn’t exist right now. I mean, we’re at such a low point, and I can only imagine the frustration you experienced, Andrew. But you know, just by showing the proper respect. I mean, when I was a Republican governor, right after I got inaugurated, where’d I go? FEA, you know and had the opportunity to sit down with some great people at the time. And they’re like, “Wow, you know, what’s the Republican doing here?”

Well, like I said, I’m a public-school kid. You know, it didn’t matter what my party was, what mattered is where my heart was, and it’s always been with educators and it always will be. I have committed in this campaign that on day one of the Crist administration, I’m gonna sign an executive order to protect a woman’s right to choose in all 67 counties in Florida. It’s that important; it’s that critical. I think it’s very important for that to be the first act that I take as your next governor.

Luke: Our current governor seems to have outsourced a lot of his education policy. You know, whether it is the civics curriculum to Hillsdale College and Michigan, or, you know, to the Heritage Foundation or these other right wing think tanks.  When you are governor, who will you listen to and why?

Charlie: Educators, I’ll listen to. I’ll listen to Karla, I’ll listen to you and Tina, and we’ll get it right, you know, because we know what’s right, what needs to be done. You apply common sense to a problem that we’ve been facing now for the past 12 years, frankly. And reverse it as quickly as we can rewrite the budget.

You know, this was the highest budget in the history of Florida this past year, a hundred and ten billion dollars, and he still couldn’t get education funding any higher than 48th or 49th in the country. So, we got a lot to do. It’s gonna be a heck of a lot of fun doing it. It’s always fun doing the right thing, and that’s what this campaign’s all about: Do the right thing.

Tina: I’m sure you’ve heard from many teachers who have expressed concerns over learning loss. How would your plan help students and teachers rebound from the past several years of chaos?

Charlie: It’ll start with not banning books. How’s, how’s that for a beginning start then? I mean, you can’t make this stuff up. It’s incredible. What are they gonna do? Burn ’em next? You know, I mean, I sit back and I see my opponent, and I can’t believe the crazy stuff he does. You know, not only in education, but, but let’s say immigration.

I mean, just recently we saw where he chartered two jets, took them to San Antonio, Texas. Rounded up a bunch of Venezuelans and it looks like some Colombians as well. About 50 folks got ’em on these planes by a lie, lured them in, flew ’em, you know, across state lines, up to Massachusetts and, you know, children, women, I mean, it just shocks the conscience of any decent human being that you would treat people like cattle like that to make a political point.

So, there’s a, there’s a lot of goodness that we can bring to bear and, and I say it all the time, it’s almost not really left versus right in this ideological sense in this campaign. It’s right versus wrong. I mean, it’s that stark a difference and that awful a situation. And that’s why, you know, I hope everybody gets out and votes and bring people with you to vote.We can do this together. I know we can.

Luke: Yeah, so we, we’ve talked quite a bit already, um, about education in the sense of pre-K 12. We know that Florida’s colleges and universities have also been under attack by the DeSantis administration. What do you think will happen with our institutions of higher education if his policies are allowed to continue with the taking away of freedom? And what will you do differently when it comes to higher education?

Charlie: Well, number one, you know, let’s talk about the most glaring case, the University of Florida, where they really tried to have censorship apply at the university through the trustees on the board at UF. Well, number one, replace ’em all.

Get rid of them. You know, a new administration, a whole change here. And that’s what needs to be done. I mean, in order to make sure we protect academic freedom at our institutions of higher learning, we have to have people that are part of that administration. Not just the presidents of the universities, but also the people that are on the board.

And they’re appointed directly by the Governor of Florida. And so I will make sure that at all of our great institutions in the state, we have great board of directors and board of trustees that understand their function is to support the university, not try to drag it down and tell ’em what kind of topics they can discuss or not discuss with that kind of academic censorship that they try to pull at University of Florida.

Tina: It’s interesting that you bring that up because we’re experiencing something similar in K-12 where educators are concerned about new policies that silence their ability to teach and discuss certain issues in their classrooms without fear of retaliation or possibly losing their jobs. What can be done to protect teachers?

Charlie: Fire Ron DeSantis. This is not a complicated equation. No, seriously, I really mean that. I mean, you know, I’m just gonna put it out because that’s how you do it. You fire him, get rid of him. We get a new governor that has a running mate that happens to be a teacher and active in the union, and God bless her for it. And I just can’t thank you all enough for this opportunity to speak to your membership and each and every one of you, to thank you from the bottom of my heart for how supportive you have been in this. And that’s why I know we’re gonna win.

Tina: And one final question for our retirees. Many Floridians are concerned about the economic pressures caused by inflation. Educators receive a modest pension. How would your administration secure and protect their retirement?

Charlie: Well, we can do just that. We can pass legislation to do that and, and I intend fully to do that. But in addition, how else can we help our economy? Because a lot of people are struggling.  I don’t think the governor, the current one, has a clue about that. You know, he hangs out with millionaires and billionaires all day, and that’s it. Yet most Floridians aren’t millionaires or billionaires, obviously. And so, the price of gas, the price of groceries, the price of rent, the price of housing, everything’s through the roof. Property insurance as well.

And as governor before I fought for consumers; he’s fighting for the insurance companies. He called a special session on property insurance about six weeks ago now. Well, it was special, all right, for the insurance companies. Didn’t drop the rates one iota, zip zero, nada.

When I was governor, called the same kind of special session on property insurance because it was skyrocketing so high and hurting seniors and others on a pension, what have you. We lowered rates by 10% in a five day special session. That’s the kind of leadership Floridians deserve. That’s the kind of leadership our administration will bring in. That’s why I’m asking for your vote and your help.

Andrew: Thanks for being here today, Charlie.

Charlie: Thank you, Andrew.

Tina: Wow, Luke, that was a great discussion. Very informative.  And following years of policy changes. It’s definitely time for a new direction.

Luke: Absolutely, Tina. And who better to bring about that change than one of our own, an educator, a union leader, an FEA member. A few days after our interview with Charlie, we sat down with his running mate, Karla Hernandez, to talk about her ideas on what needs to happen to improve public education in Florida.

Welcome, Karla. We are so excited to have you join us today. And you know, personally, I am thrilled to see an educator on the ticket. It is about time that we have one. And could you please talk to us about what it should mean to all the educators in Florida that there is a teacher on the ticket for Lieutenant Governor?

Karla Hernandez, Candidate for Lieutenant Governor: Well, hi Luke. Thanks for having me. It’s great to be here. You know, honestly, this is huge for public education, for all of education, and certainly for our workforce. You know, for so long we’ve been talking about the needs that we’ve had, you know, what’s happening in our public schools, how year after year schools have been defunded.

And so now we have an opportunity that’s game changer, not just for education, where we know that we’re not gonna focus on these cultural wars that are fantastical ideas of things that do not exist in our classrooms. where, you know, they’re banning books and censoring teachers. We’re gonna talk about real issues, how we fund public schools, how we move from being 48th in the nation in terms of teacher pay and moving us up so that we are working in places where not only are they respecting us, but we also have the right working conditions.

And so, you know, we know that we have a great plan. Because obviously it’s been vetted by educators. So, if you get a chance, go to CharlieCrist.com and look at the Freedom to Learn plan, and that’s where we delineate everything that we wanna do. But this is also huge for just working people.

I mean, understanding that unions have a seat at the table, that educators have a seat at the table, that middle class does hardworking families have a seat at the table is something that has never happened in Florida state history. We’ve never had a union leader given the opportunity of this position.

And I just think it says a lot about Charlie. You know, Charlie has a huge heart. He’s very wise. He’s been doing this for a long time. He’s been governor, been Congressman, and he really wanted to make sure that, you know, us folks, right? That the community, that the people in the state of Florida were represented.

And so, we’re gonna make sure that we have the resources that we need for educators, and we’re gonna actually have sound education policy that, you know, that incorporates the ideas and the thoughts of educators who are on the front lines of education doing this work every day.

Tina: Karla, I’m really glad that you brought up the Freedom to Learn Policy. You know, one of the things that many educators are wondering is exactly how the Freedom to Learn Policy will make the difference for public education. Can you talk a little bit about that and possibly what would be some of the first actions, possibly executive actions, that educators could look forward to? What would you like to see happen?

Karla: Well, you know, one of the things that we are committed to is not being a part of infiltrating our school boards. We believe that communities should have the freedom, that it should be grassroots movements that really know and care about our communities and education that are leading the way.

We’ve never seen what’s happening now until this moment in time. You know, Governor DeSantis and everything that he’s trying to implement. We wanna make sure that our school boards are run through people that have kids in, in our public school system and are really committed to our public schools. So that’s one thing.

We’re not gonna insert policies or make our school boards political grounds because it. That has no place for us in our classrooms or in our teacher’s lives, and we’re seeing this all across the state. We also believe that, you know, in a situation where you have, policy makers that are trying to rewrite history, when they’re banning math books, I mean, think about that.

This year in this legislative session, there was controversy over math. Because math books were being adopted. You know, it’s going to be, um, just a, a storm of nonsense when we talk about language arts and history books. It just happened to be that we were adopting math this year. Math is math, and you know, you can’t fudge numbers.

And to think that banning certain math books was because it created some kind of controversy. It’s really startling for us, especially us history teachers that know how oppressive governments and other countries have worked and how, you know, when you start to limit information, when you start censoring people, these are all very typical of authoritarian regimes in which you’re trying to create ignorant communities. We’re educators, we’re truth tellers, and we know that part of our work is to save the good, the bad, and the ugly, and learn from our history so that we don’t make those same mistakes.

And, you know, I’ve seen what’s happening with civics education too, how they’re trying to rewrite that and change it into something that it has never been. Uh, it’s not okay. And, you know, we need to push back against that. We need to get it right. We need to have civic engagement from not just our, you know, community leaders, but our kids need to understand it, what it really means, so that they’re ready when they become adults.

And those are just a few things, you know, the banning of the books we’re educators. I mean, we have novels that are about the Holocaust that have been part of our classroom collection when we’re, you know, making sure that we are just really holistic and well-rounded in the type of education that we’re giving our kids because we want our students to have access to the highest quality education. And to limit these kind of topics, which we know have been extremely important in our world history and of course, even our history and how we’ve dealt with things.

I heard one teacher, not just one actually, I’ve heard a few teachers that have been really concerned over you know, the fact that they’re trying to not use the word slavery anymore and call it involuntary relocation. I mean, that’s not okay. That’s not factual. It wasn’t involuntary relocation; it was slavery.

And you know, we have to be able to give our, you know, professionals, our teachers, our support staff, the ability to have the autonomy to teach, the freedom to teach, to teach with authenticity and to give them the resources that they need to teach. And all these things are things that we wanna address. Obviously, we wanna increase, the pay for everyone. We know that we, it is not okay for us to be 48th in the nation. And so, there’s just so many topics that we can talk about education and so many things that we know we can get right and we will get right once we’re in office.

Luke: Yeah. And I think that’s a really good segue to our next question. Florida is facing a teacher and staff shortage like never before. Even as we’re recording this just right up the road from you, I think the Broward Teachers Union is having a press conference to highlight that they still have 700 vacancies. As you said, we’re 48th in the nation in pay, but we know it will take more than just increased pay to get people to come back into the profession. So what are some of the things that educators can look forward to in a Crist Hernandez administration to attract people back into the profession?

Karla: Absolutely, Luke. It is a fact that it can’t just be, obviously pay is good. We need to have good working conditions, dignity and respect for the work that we do, but it’s not the end all be all. I do believe it is a self-inflicted wound that this date has over 9,000 vacancies in classroom positions right now. They’re making it less attractive. For our educators to wanna come into this profession because of all of the disrespect that we have seen for so many years. And so respect is key.

We have to respect our workforce, our teachers, our support staff, our education professionals. I mean, everybody is integral. And you know, this is a part of the community of educators that we belong to. And so, we have to lift all boats. We know that the part of the disenfranchisement that we’ve had has been because of the political attacks.

You know, school boards have become circuses now. We have people that unfortunately are part of a political agenda that are coming in and disrupting what it is that we do. And so, you know, we have to, you know, get rid of that. We can’t have these extremist groups coming in and trying to change the things that we, that we’re doing because we are, we’ve been working really hard to make sure that our kids get a high quality education even during the pandemic.

So, it’s about respect. It’s about ensuring that teachers have resources. Going back to, you know, just some of the basic things. We know that children you know, work better in small class sizes. We know that we need to focus on mental health. You know, it’s been an issue that we’ve been talking about for years. And not just in the classroom, but as, as a society. We have so many communities, including homeless communities that have very severe challenges when we talk about mental health. But we need to make sure that we’re getting back to, you know, funding our schools, having the resources and funding doesn’t just mean teacher pay.

It means making sure that we have all the things that we need in our classrooms, including books,  including air conditioning, right? Including so many things that we know that are basic, but in many cases we do not have. And bringing back the respect, making sure that people understand and feel just as we feel that our education workforce are salt and light of this earth, they’re amazing. They take care of everybody else’s children every single day and send them back home in a better condition because they send them back home with more knowledge, right? And so, we wanna make sure that we support public education.It is a cornerstone of democracy and, you know, we wanna get it right.

Tina: The making of education policy obviously is a collaborative experience. I mean, there are a lot of voices that need to be included, and what you’re talking about is returning autonomy to teachers, giving them the voice. Again, what group of experts should your administration look to in terms of education policy, the rewriting of education policies, and along the way, how will your team encourage the legislature, which crafts most of our education policy at the direction of, sometimes of the governor, how will you encourage them to support these changes?

Karla: Number one, we know the, the power of the veto pen, that can’t be under, underestimated or understated. The fact that we have a governor that is going to prioritize, uh, certain things, uh, certain topics, um, obviously education, gives him a lot of latitude and a lot of leverage to move things through our state legislature that needs to get moved.

You know, we know that there are legislators that have special. And unfortunately those special interests have been manipulating the way our legislature has or has not, in many cases, been working for us, for the community, for the people. And, you know, we need to, you know, just leverage our weight, make sure that they understand that there are line items that can be vetoed if it’s just, if we’re not getting the things that we need. There’s a lot of work that needs to get done in Tallahassee. But I also believe that one of our skill sets is that we are people people, right?

We wanna talk to folks. We wanna be collaborative. We wanna ensure that we, you know, working in ways that are helping the community. And so, Charlie is ready, you know, to, to sit across the aisle, to talk to folks to get the work done. Because at the end of the day, what we want is a Florida for all. We wanna make sure that Florida is good for everyone. That there are no groups of people that feel disenfranchised.

We want public education to be strong. We want women to have rights. You know, we believe that women should have autonomy over their bodies, that they should be able to make decisions about their own bodies in the intimacy of their family without government intrusion. And that seems pretty basic, but it’s not what’s actually happening in the state of Florida.

And there’s so many issues like that, including affordability that the cost of housing, how it’s just skyrocketing. So many of our teachers who are, you know, career long educators are being priced out of their communities. And it’s not just teachers. I’m, I’m saying it right now as a teacher, but it’s so many working families and middle-class folks that work hard every single day, fight for their families, and they’re being priced out of communities.

These are all real issues that everybody across the state of Florida agrees are problems and are not being addressed by Tallahassee. And so I think that if we’re able to take some of those special interests out, if we’re talking to folks and really connecting with them and helping them see how these things are beneficial for their communities, I’m not saying that it’s gonna be easy, but I’m also saying that, you know, this is something that we’re, we’ve signed up to do and that we wanna do because we wanna make sure that Florida’s good for everyone.

Luke: I guess I have two more questions. My next one is, we know that Florida is like a haven for retirement, right? It’s where people from around the country and really around the world like to come to retire, but more and more the people who make Florida Run can’t afford to have a retirement with dignity in the state.

So what needs to change to make sure that educators and other, like you said, other working class, middle class folk, can actually live out their retirement dream after dedicating their life to Florida’s children? 

Karla: First of all, let’s make sure that Florida is stays above water . So people can retire here. So, we have to take care of the environment. Why do people come to Florida? Because they love our tropical weather. They love the beaches that we offer, just the style of living that can be afforded here. So we have to take care of the environment. We gotta take care of mother earth. We gotta make sure that we’re protecting our coastlines and everything else, our forest, the Everglades.

And secondly, Is that we have to make sure that our retirees live with dignity. And one of the things that Charlie has as part of his plan, he wants to create an adjustment so that there is a a cost of living adjustment with inflation. Because we do know that retirees come here and they’re living on a fixed income, which doesn’t have an adjustment right now.

And it creates these situations where our retirees are living paycheck to paycheck because they can’t afford to live with the fixed income that they have. So that’s a problem. We know it’s a problem, and that’s something that we’re ready to address on day one.

We also know that our retirees, uh, need an expansion of Medicaid. And for so many years, you know, expansion of Medicaid and Medicare, so many people in our school system that don’t have access to healthcare, it’s creating sick communities, um, because people are just, you know, pushing through their pain or, you know, whatever their situations may be, and not getting the care that they deserve to live with dignity. And so, we know that that is also an issue that needs to be addressed and one that is certainly already part of one of our plans.

Tina: You’ve kind of addressed this somewhat in terms of academic freedom in our classrooms, but I’d like for you to address it specifically in terms of higher education because Florida’s universities have received high accolades, yet we’re doing things now that may change that. What needs to happen to get us back on track?

Karla: Yeah, I think we need to stop with all the micromanagement that is occurring. We know that professors are so knowledgeable. We know, they have the content knowledge, they have the skill sets. They’re working really hard with our students, and we have some of the best universities and just options for kids in our state.

We need to make sure that we elevate that work, that we are con, you know, we are able to give people an opportunity not only to attend college, but to get a high quality education. And, you know, there are a lot of issues that are  in this field as well. I mean, how many adjunct professors have been adjunct professors for years and years just to not give them tenure, which means that they don’t have access to, you know, all these other benefits that tenure professors do have.

And you know, when we talk about people and bringing somebody from labor and having them on the table, these are all things that come up and that for me at least as a labor leader, I wanna see addressed. I wanna make sure that, you know, anybody in any career, is working with, you know, gets adequate wages that is able to work with dignity, that is able to have access to the things that they need in order to make them be the most effective and efficient in their workforce but also that we treat people in a humane way.

You know, we can’t continue with the divisiveness where some get some things and others don’t. You know, all of us work really hard and I do believe. Believe that people in every career should have access to a career ladder and career opportunities. And so, we’re gonna leave it up to the experts.

We know that there are university professors that have been doing this for a long time, that have ideas that wanna see systems get fixed, and we need to bring them to the table. I do believe that it is from the front lines and our frontline workers should be the ones talking about the issues and coming up with solutions and how we address some of these things.

Tina: All right, Karla, thank you very much. I just wanna ask you if there’s anything else you’d like to add.

Karla: I wanna make sure that everybody that’s listening to this podcast is motivated and is organizing and mobilizing the vote. I tell folks that we’re really only two weeks out. From the election because absentee ballots will start dropping.

We need people to vote by mail. We need people to vote early. We cannot wait until November 8th. If we wait until November the eighth, then we’re not gonna have the results that we want and that we need and that we deserve. So, make sure you’re organizing, make sure you’re getting out the vote.

Education is on the ballot. Voting rights are on the ballot. I didn’t mention this earlier. There were two African American congressional seats that were gerrymandered out of their vote. Why? Why would you do that? It is an oppressive government that is trying to limit people and limit voice, so we have to fix that.

So voting rights are on the ballot. Affordability is on the ballot. Women’s choice is on the ballot. And so, we need everybody to come out. We need everybody to vote. Education is so important, and you know, I believe that we are in the fight of our lives, but we’re gonna get it right. So, if we vote now, we save our country two years from now from a catastrophe that is bound to happen because DeSantis is not running for Florida governor. He’s actually running to be in the White House. So, we have big shoes to fill, but we can save the country for everyone. So please go out and vote. Please make sure that you’re taking your families, that all your households are voting with you on the issues, because that’s how we make a difference. Let’s win!

Andrew: So, as we end this podcast today, I just wanna say go to Charlie Crist’s website and check out his Freedom to Learn plan. It’s a plan about education. It talks about putting students first and families first. It talks about supporting teachers and staff who work in our schools. It talks about pay, about health insurance, about retirement about career and tech education that is truly supported by the state. It talks about lifting up education in the state of Florida. And that is why we have endorsed Charlie Crist for governor. That is what’s made it very easy for us to get behind your campaign. 

I also wanna say this, one of my favorite union songs is Solidarity Forever. And it says, in our hands is placed a power greater than their hoarded gold. So as the governor has said, and future governor has said, go out and vote because in our hands is placed a power greater than their hoarded gold. And it’s our vote, our right to vote, our obligation to vote, our civic responsibility to vote.

And even though the civics trainings done this summer all over, the state of Florida, didn’t talk about voting, we know that as our paramount civic duty, and so let’s get out and vote and vote for Charlie Crist to be the next governor so we can have an education governor, someone who truly gets us and will stand with us and has already proven it.

Aurora Gonzalez: If you enjoy our podcast, ask your friends and colleagues to subscribe on our website@feaweb.org/EducatingFromTheHeart. Send your comments and feedback to heart@floridaea.org. Again, that’s heart, H E A R T at Florida EA dot O R G. Or you can leave a voicemail at 850-201-3384   

Sharon Nesvig:  Educating from the Heart is a production of the Florida Education Association. FEA is the statewide educators’ union with more than 150,000 members, including teachers, education staff professionals, higher education faculty, graduate assistants, students preparing to become teachers and retired educators 

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