Today's news -- November 14, 2017



Student walkouts are reminder of 1968 teachers’ strike *

A nervous tension permeates the room. Students anxiously look toward each other, waiting for someone to make the first move. The substitute in the classroom demonstratively threatens each student with suspension for any forms of disruption. Suddenly, a quiet girl in the front row stands up, looks toward her classmates, and exclaims, "Let’s go!" Following her lead, the class stands in unison and walks out the door of their classroom and their school in a show of solidarity with the tens of thousands of teachers who, just a few days earlier, left their own classrooms in protest. This event constituted the country’s first statewide teacher strike. This scene, described in an oral history interview with Titusville High School alum Gary Cornwell relating his experiences in the 1968 statewide Florida teacher strike, has a striking similarity to the recent student-led walkouts demanding a pay raise for Hillsborough County teachers. In both cases, students vehemently voiced their support for their teachers in a state that places little value on education and the teaching profession. On the morning of Feb. 19, 1968, more than 27,000 teachers and administrators across Florida mailed in their signed letters of resignation, effectively creating a crisis in education never before witnessed in the United States. The strike, however, did not occur spontaneously; rather, it stemmed from years of neglect to the state’s education system from state and local politicians. Teachers also faced a continuous devaluing of their profession by politicians through a lack of pay and through a public that refused to acknowledge teaching as anything more than glorified babysitting. By leaving their classrooms empty, teachers demanded improvements to the state’s education funding structure as well as to their profession. A point of contention for teachers -- then as now -- centered on salaries, which lagged behind other states such as Alabama and Georgia, which in 1968 paid their teachers on average higher salaries than Florida.

Sadly, almost 50 years later, Florida’s low wages continue to plague the state’s teachers. Teachers in 1968 faced steep resistance from the public for going on strike, but nevertheless they stood resolute in their mission to fix education. They also found support from their students who, in counties across the state, walked out in solidarity with those tasked to educate them. By showing their solidarity, these students faced suspension and in some cases criminal charges for truancy. Confronted with these penalties, why did they walk out? They did so because they understood, better than most adults, the hard work and dedication that goes into a profession that often suffers from a lack of support both in pay and in funding. By recognizing these aspects, students in 1968 and in 2017 made their intentions clear: They would support their teachers’ efforts to address the problems of education in the state, no matter the consequences. The latest Hillsborough County student walkouts speak to a long legacy of student activism in the state, but they should also serve as a cautionary tale for the Hillsborough County School Board. There are striking similarities between education and the teaching profession in 1968 and 2017. Teachers in Florida continue to find their profession besieged by politicians who find it easier to blame teachers for education’s problems than to address the severe failures in funding that have continued to damage education in the state. By not providing promised raises to Hillsborough’s teachers, the School Board has illustrated a lack of respect and concern for those charged with educating Florida’s youth. There have been reports that some schools have decided to exact punishment in the form of in-school suspension against students who had the courage to stand up for their teachers. Instead of punishing these students, we should listen to them. If not, Florida could be heading down the same path it did in 1968.


Hillsborough teachers plan School Board protest today as tensions heat up over pay


Manatee district wants more money from taxpayers. Here’s how it wants to spend it (Pat Barber quoted)


Race, punishment in Central Florida schools


Audit review sees improving financial controls among state school districts


When teachers get useful, timely data, they use it


Low academic expectations and poor support for special education students


Supporters of FAMU interim president say it’s time to give him the job permanently


Justices to hear FAMU hazing case in February


Behind the lucrative assembly line of student debt lawsuits


Scott rolls out final spending proposals today

For the last time as governor, Rick Scott will roll out a set of budget recommendations today for the Legislature to consider in its upcoming election-year session that begins Jan. 9. As usual, Scott will soon realize that he and lawmakers will differ on where the state should spend more money. "Every year you have priorities, and this year I have a lot of priorities," Scott said a few days ago. The Republican governor has already called for a $220 million increase in spending on environmental programs, $180 million in tax cuts, $50 million to fight the opioid epidemic, $1 million for greater security at Jewish day schools and a $4,000 starting pay raise for Florida Highway Patrol troopers. Scott says the state will have more than enough money to pay for all of his spending priorities, but the Legislature's chief economist, Amy Baker, has cautioned lawmakers that their spending has been outpacing revenue projections and that the revenue forecast for future years will be "much worse" because of Hurricane Irma's impact on the state's economy. The most notable difference between this budget preview and last year's is that Scott is no longer battling with House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O'Lakes. When Scott rolled out last year's spending plan, Corcoran dismissed it as wasteful and targeted the state's job creation incentive programs at Enterprise Florida for elimination. That didn't happen, and by the end of the 2017 session Scott and Corcoran had put aside their past differences and were political allies. Another difference is that 2018 is an election year, and Scott is widely expected to challenge Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson. That will ensure that all of Scott's spending priorities will be viewed through the prism of election-year politics.

A governor's budget is a starting-off point in negotiations with the Legislature, which makes most key spending decisions. State lawmakers write the annual budget, but Scott has the power to veto line-item appropriations.


Scott gives up on one of his big promises


Free tuition sought for families of fallen cops, soldiers


Woman who filed harassment claims against Latvala is Senate employee


Latvala legal team wants Benacquisto removed from sexual harassment probe


Women accusing Latvala of harassment should come forward


Hiaasen: Can’t beat the benefits of the Legislature


Insiders on Tallahassee’s frat house atmosphere (Jeff Wright and Ron Bilbao mentioned)


Listen to women on birth control, lawmakers


Realtors: House tax proposal would cut state home values by 13 percent


Tab mounts to clean up hurricane water debris


Central Florida leaders press Scott on plans for Puerto Rico evacuees


Republican class warfare: the next generation


If the tax bill is so great, why does the GOP keep lying about it?


This little-discussed part of the GOP tax bill proves what it’s really about


Haste on tax measures may leave a trail of loopholes


Robbing blue states to pay red


Trump again wades into tax debate, suggesting repeal of Obamacare mandate


Richest 1 percent own half the world's wealth, study finds


Sanders: We must end global oligarchy


Nelson calls out Republicans by name for refusing to work with him on taxes


Trump Jr. communicated with WikiLeaks during campaign


Pence denies knowing about Trump Jr. WikiLeaks contacts


Sessions likely to be questioned about Trump campaign dealings with Russians


Pence’s health care power play


Marketing Obamacare with less help from the Feds


U.S. has been home for 20 years. Now Trump is expelling these Nicaraguans.


Appeals court partly reinstates Trump’s new travel ban


War between Hispanic pols puts Dreamers in cross hairs


Justices take cases on free speech at pregnancy centers and polling places


Trump choosing white men as judges, highest rate in decades


Trump asked black voters: “What the hell do you have to lose?” Well, judgeships.


Trump judicial pick did not disclose he is married to a White House lawyer


Veterans claiming disability pay face wall of denials and delays


Former Eli Lilly executive is Trump’s choice for health secretary


Trump’s thing for thugs


Trump is making China great again


The U.S. is tackling global warming, even if Trump isn’t


Protesters jeer as Trump team promotes coal at U.N. climate talks


Florida Republican urges Trump to support Paris Climate Accord


Trump has made 1,628 false or misleading claims over 298 days


No one knows what Omarosa is doing in the White House -- even Omarosa


Trump’s comments create a lose-lose position for Justice


“Way too little, way too late”: Facebook's fact-checkers say effort is failing


Something really is wrong on the Internet. We should be more worried.


30 nations use “armies of opinion shapers” to manipulate democracy, report says


The tech industry’s gender-discrimination problem


House and Senate are “among the worst” for harassment, representative says




 0 user(s) rated this page
Login to leave a comment
No Comments yet