What is the 3-7 Challenge? March 7 is the start of Florida’s 2023 legislative session, and some elected officials have promised to pass legislation that will limit the fundamental freedoms of Florida’s students, teachers, education staff professionals, and higher education faculty.
In response, we are asking all Florida Education Association (FEA) and United Faculty of Florida (UFF) members to participate in a statewide public education day of action that we are calling the 3-7 Challenge to show support for educators and the future of education in our state.
To complete “The 3-7 Challenge,” supporters of Florida’s public education system are asked to make 3 phone calls and send 7 emails to Florida’s elected officials on March 7 — the start of the 2023 legislative session.
FEA and UFF are asking members an allies to contact lawmakers and tell them:
- to protect our freedoms to learn, to teach, to read,
- for students to choose the classes they want to take
- for anyone to speak up without fear of reprisal in Florida’s public education system, kindergarten through graduate school
Also on this page
Take Action (Higher Education)
Below you will find links & contact info for Florida’s elected officials and higher education committees.
The 3-7 Challenge is to make 3 phone calls and send 7 emails!
Please note: When you click on the button for each action you will be taken to our online tool to make the call or send the email. The talking points listed below are repeated there.
What is “The 3-7 Challenge”?
How do I participate?
To complete “The 3-7 Challenge,” supporters of Florida’s public education system are asked to make 3 phone calls and send 7 emails to Florida’s elected officials on March 7. These officials include Gov. DeSantis, the Senate President, the House Speaker, members of the Florida Board of Governors (which oversees our state universities), the Florida State Board of Education, and various legislative committees.
If you would like assistance with formulating your thoughts on our issues, feel free to refer to the provided higher ed talking points or Pre-K-12 talking points. Whether you use the talking points or not, it is important that you speak from the heart and express your ideas in an original fashion, rather than using a template.
Through this challenge, we are hoping to drive tens of thousands of contacts to Florida’s elected leaders in one day, all in service of protecting Florida’s world-class public education system!
What should you do once you’ve completed the challenge?
After you’ve made your calls and sent your emails, you can—
- Post to social media that you’ve completed the challenge using the hashtag #3-7Challenge. Feel free to tag @FloridaEA and @UnitedFacultyFL to show your support for Pre-K-12 and higher education in our state.
- Ask your colleagues, friends, and family members to complete the challenge as well.
What else can I or my allies do to support for the fight in Florida?
FEA and UFF are asking community groups, professional organizations, allied unions, or any other groups to write and publish statements in support public education. If you or a group you are associated with write such a statement, please send it to email@example.com.
Read the statements of support at UFF’s website.
3-7 Challenge Talking Points: Higher Education
- Protect tenure: Faculty must have the right to research, teach, and work free from fear of retaliation from those in positions of political authority. Tenure is not a job for life, but it does protect against political influence in Florida’s college and university classrooms. Without the full protections of tenure, faculty will seek employment elsewhere, and billions of dollars in research funds will go to competing states that still respect the necessity of free inquiry and expression.
- Preserve academic freedom: Academic freedom is vital to the success of any higher education institution. It protects the research, teaching, and service of faculty across the political spectrum, not just for those who agree with the political leaders currently in office. Politicians have no right to ban subjects or speech in Florida’s colleges and universities.
- Promote shared governance: Successful universities and colleges rely on a system of shared governance, where faculty have control of curricular decisions in their areas of expertise, while administrators work on administrative issues. When we break down shared governance and treat higher education institutions like businesses, we harm the students who deserve a high-quality degree program that focuses on academics, instead of politics, first. Students are not products; education is not a line item on financial report; shared governance insures a better higher education system for all.
- Protect DEI: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion programs provide increased student access to Florida’s college and universities. First generation students, women, minorities, veterans, students with disabilities—all benefit from DEI scholarships, programs, and initiatives that ensure all Floridians can seek and complete degrees in our world-class higher education system. If we protect DEI, we protect a free and fair future for all Floridians.
- Preserve constitutional rights: Florida’s college and university students have the right to think, feel, believe, read, teach, and research as they see fit, and no politician has the moral, ethical, or legal right to infringe upon these freedoms. Stop big government intrusion by allowing Florida’s students, faculty, and staff to exercise their constitutional rights to determine which ideas they agree or disagree with on their own terms. Preserve freedom; stop banning speech and subjects.
3-7 Challenge Talking Points: Pre-K-12
- Protect teacher professionalism: We respect the voices of parents, teachers, school boards, administrators and students. All have a crucial role in providing our students with the best possible education, and students’ needs must be our focus.
- Protect public freedom: No matter what school or grade level they work in, every teacher in Florida deserves to have a voice in their curriculum, be supported and have the resources they need to provide meaningful lessons, and be paid a professional salary that allows them to live in the community where they work.
- Promote fair pay: Teachers and staff in the state of Florida are so underpaid, they are struggling to afford rent and pay their bills, just like so many Floridians who are having those same challenges. Regardless of what the governor claims, funding for teacher salary increases, Florida remains stuck near the bottom in national rankings for average teacher pay. Due to a tangled web of laws and rules governing pay, teachers with years in the classroom continue to face an “experience penalty” that can leave them making little more than new hires.
- Preserve equal access: Our schools don’t need to go back to 1950; we need to move forward toward 2050. Florida’s students deserve strong public schools. Through their union, our members have a powerful voice in advocating for strong public schools that serve the needs of EVERY child who walks through our doors. While Gov. DeSantis seeks to punish and divide, we seek to unite. At every level of our union family, we stand united to make sure every child’s education is full of excitement and love of learning that prepares them for college or the workforce.
- Preserve democracy and the right to dissent: Gov. DeSantis continues to show that anyone who is not in lockstep with him will face his ire. Whether the target is Disney, an elected state attorney, school board members, school district superintendents or now our caring teachers and staff, his M.O. has been ‘do what I say, or else.’ All Floridians have the constitutional right to disagree with their government, and we will not trade those rights for the ambitions of our governor.
- Prioritize the public good: Public education is a public good; diverting public education funding to unaccountable special interest groups will only harm all Floridians generations to come. When we fully fund public education—and stop siphoning funds into voucher programs—we ensure a bright future the Sunshine State.