SB6 Fighting Back

Thank Governor Crist for the SB6 Veto

Governor’s office: 850-488-7146

Governor’s e-mail:  | Read Governor Crist's Veto Statement
See how your House Representative voted | How your Senator voted  

Read the final bill:


Parents, teachers, support staff, superintendents and principals in public schools across the state are sighing with overwhelming relief now that Governor Crist has used the power of his pen to veto SB6.


Calling the legislation significantly flawed, the Governor stated after carefully reading the final bill, he was troubled. He went on to say he identified several major concerns with the bill, including the lack of adequate accomodations for special education students and ESE teachers, arbitrary percentages for calculating a teacher's effectiveness, the eradication of the multi-year Professional Teaching Contract, an unconstitutional encroachment on local decision-making, and the potential decertification of excellent teachers who need a little help on the job.


"SB6 places teachers in jeopardy of losing their jobs and teaching certificates without a clear understanding of how gains will be measured," stated Gov. Crist. He added, "Teachers have an incredible impact on the lives of their students, but they are not the only influence."


Governor Crist  said his biggest concern has been the legislative process, noting the SB6 sped through committees without meaningful input from parents, teachers, principals or superintendents. Despite the outcry of opposition,  it was pushed through the Senate and the House with few amendments.


In Tallahassee, signs of victory appeared after hearng the Governor's decision. At one local high school, a crowd gathered with 3 local school bands.  “Thank You Gov. Crist,” filled the air. The pictures below  tell the story of victory for educators, parents, and students throughout Florida.






It was in the wee hours of the morning (approximately 2:40 AM), when the Florida House of Representatives followed the lead of the state Senate and passed the bill on a narrow vote with about a dozen Republicans joining Democrats in opposition. Teachers have joined with parents and students in communities across Florida in mass demonstrations, e-mail blitzes and letter-writing campaigns to convince the Governor to veto the bill. The bill passage drew harsh criticism from the president of the Florida Education Association.


“It’s difficult to imagine any legislation that will be worse for our public schools than this bill,” said FEA President Andy Ford. “This bill is anti-student, anti-teacher, anti-parent, and anti-public schools. This bill guts local control of our public schools, vastly expands testing, bases all school and personnel decisions on a score from tests that have not been developed or validated.”


The bill was sent to Gov. Charlie Crist for his signature.  By law, the Governor is given seven days to sign or veto the legislation. A signature puts test scores in the driver's seat when it comes to virtually all decisions about Florida teacher pay and job security. He also has the option of simply allowing it to become law without his signature.


Under S.B. 6 (H.B. 7189), more than half of teacher pay would be based on student scores, and educators risk losing certification if they fail to show "effective performance" based on those scores. Newly hired teachers would remain on annual probationary contracts for five years and then have annual contracts for the remainder of their careers. Teacher layoffs also would be determined by students' performance on tests, which clearly were not designed for these purposes.

The FCAT will be replaced with end-of-course (EOC) exams which have not yet been designed and the method used to determine teacher performance has also not yet been developed.


Ford said that because so much of the bill is yet undetermined, it asks the entire education community to trust the Florida Department of Education.


“We don’t trust the DOE,” Ford said. “Over the past dozen years they’ve given us plenty of reason not to trust them. Rather than collaborate with FEA and others in the education community to initiate reforms, the DOE and the political leadership in Tallahassee have decided to use a steamroller to flatten anyone who does not fully buy into their ‘reform’ agenda.”


The legislation is generating national attention now that right-wing foundations and publications have signaled their intention to make it a national model.


Education historian Diane Ravitch warns that the bill “will dumb down” public education in Florida and “cause many of [the] best teachers to leave the profession or the state because this legislation is so profoundly disrespectful towards the education profession."


Recently, FEA commissioned a public opinion poll that found even likely Republican voters do not approve of this legislation by a wide margin.


"The governor needs to listen to the people of Florida and veto this bad piece of legislation,” Ford said.

But The Florida Chamber of Commerce has taken on opponents with an ad campaign attacking teachers for taking a stand. The ad, under the name of Classroom Florida, goes as far as accusing teachers of bullying students in the classroom and calling our educators high paid union lobbyist in mob-like dark suits and sunglasses. What an insult!  Many locals have stepped up and are now targeting their local Chambers of Commerce.  Despite the outcry by so many education stakeholders,  the Chamber has issued a letter to the Governor requesting that he ignore you and sign the bill.


Eleven Republicans went against their party in the teacher tenure vote. See the full breakdown below.


Republican leaders made it clear that the so-called "teacher tenure" bill was a session priority, but at least eleven party members broke rank and voted against the controversial measure. Many face contested elections this year. Send an email to say thank you to your legislators and pledge your support for them.


Send an email by clicking this link and then finding the Representative's name.


The bill passed the House on a vote of 64 to 55 — Eleven Republicans joined the Democrats in voting NO!


Voting YEA were Republicans: Adams, Adkins, Ambler, Anderson, Aubuchon, Bogdanoff, Bovo, Burgin, Cannon, Carroll, Coley, Cretul, Crisafulli, Domino, Dorworth, Drake, Eisnaugle, Evers, Flores, Ford, Fresen, Frishe, Galvano, Glorioso, Gonzalez, Grady, Grimsley, Hasner, Hays, Holder, Hooper, Horner, Hudson, Hukill, Kelly, Kreegel, Legg, Lopez-Cantera, Mayfield, McBurney, McKeel, Murzin, Nelson, O’Toole, Patronis, Plakon, Poppell, Precourt, Proctor, Ray, Reagan, Renuart, Rivera, K. Roberson, Schenck, Snyder, Stargel, N. Thompson, Tobia, Troutman, Weatherford, T. Williams, Wood and Workman.


None of the Democrats voted for the bill


Voting NO were Democrats: Abruzzo, Bembry, Bernard, Boyd, Brandenburg, Braynon, Brisé, Bullard, Bush, Chestnut, Clarke-Reed, Cruz, Fetterman, Fitzgerald, Garcia, Gibbons, Gibson, Heller, Jenne, Jones, Kiar, Kriseman, Long, Pafford, Porth, Rader, Randolph, Reed, Rehwinkel-Vasilinda, Y. Roberson, Rogers, Rouson, Sachs, Sands, Saunders, Schwartz, Skidmore, Soto, Steinberg, Taylor, G. Thompson, Thurston, Waldman and A. Williams.


Voting NO were Republicans: Culp, Homan, Llorente, Nehr, Patterson, Planas, Robaina, Schultz, Van Zant, Weinstein and Zapata.


The bill was sent to the Governor after the House leadership rushed to obtain the required signatures and certification process. He will have 7 days (which will be next Friday April 16) to decide if he will veto the bill, sign it into law, or simply let it become law without his signature.  Now it is time to switch gears and call his office requesting that he VETO the bill!


Read the final bill:


Want more? Read April FEAweb Notes

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Phillip Perry: Jeff Atwater still doesn't get that no one wanted his Tallahassee takeover of our schools. As the chief architect of SB 6, we need to hold him accountable.
posted Friday, April 16th 2010 at 11:28am by Tina D

Tury Cespedes MIAMI-DADE: We need to Thank Mr. Robaina and those representatives for having the courage to vote with what you thought was right and not what most of your party dictated. Thank You Mr. Robaina for standing with the teachers. I know you have a great record for consistently fighting for Floridians on issues. So once ...again, Thank you for supporting public education, children and teachers. Please joing me in his new group page:!/group.php?gid=108446319194989&ref=ts
posted Friday, April 16th 2010 at 11:31am by Tina D