Florida Education Association Considers Post Session Lawsuits

By: Amy Long
By: Amy Long

Some public school employees consider themselves and Florida's students victims of the 2011 legislative session.. calling it a massacre against quality education.

Now that the 60 day rush is over, the Florida Education Association is looking to see if their rights have been violated by any of the half a dozen bills passed.

Ron Meyer, the attorney representing the FEA says, "A merit pay plan that micromanages what a salary schedule has to look like, how the evaluations have to be, how decisions are made. These are all things that should be subject to collective bargaining."

Eileen Shcap, a teacher at Leon High School says, "Performance pay isn't even funded so I think that the legislature left a lot of school systems and districts hanging in the wind there."

Governor Rick Scott's press office released a statement regarding possible lawsuits saying: "We are certain the legislation passed by both the House and Senate and signed by the governor stands on solid legal ground with these important reforms."

"The legislature and the governor made it clear that our profession doesn't have any place at the table when it comes to any kind of legislation that affects education and for me that's quite insulting." says Shcap.

"We think there was a lot of law making that went on by a super empowered legislator that sort of acted like a kid in a candy store that really probably went too far." says Meyer

Meyer says he thinks the first lawsuit will be filed with regards to the teacher merit pay law which would go into affect July 1st.

The FEA is looking at bills passed that expand voucher programs and loosening of the class size restrictions.

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  • by Anonymous on May 18, 2011 at 01:50 PM
    "looking to see if their rights have been violated " once again, what everyone needs to start boycotting is the freaking political system. If the voters had a right to actually vote on these bills then we wouldn't have these problems we have now. We have the right to vote for a rep but not for a bill. You get a bad rep or bad governor (like now) you have no choice but to bend over and take it for the next four years. What is happening in the middle east might not be a bad idea here...without all the killing of course. When is enough, enough?? Most of the politicians are corrupt and vote or propose bills based on who has the most influence (money)...never will change until we as voters demand a change in the political system. Scott has passed bills that will give him more power than any governor before him.
  • by Anonymous on May 18, 2011 at 10:20 AM
    They certainly didn't win over too many people with that idiotic ad where the union teacher admitted to being too stupid to be able to write a check to pay her union dues.
  • by Anonymous on May 18, 2011 at 08:46 AM
    Alex, I agree that state employees work for "the people", providing services for Florida citizens. I can see your point that they should not expect to have rights "the people" do not have. However, your comment seems to imply that state employees should be treated as second class citizens. They should not have access to a better life than any other citizens, that they should not have the same rights as other citizens. I am not a fan of unions, however, all Floridians and all Americans have a right to unionize - so why should state workers be denied the same rights that all other Americans have?
  • by Teacher Location: Madison on May 18, 2011 at 08:13 AM
    I agree with your comments Alex, however as a teacher I do pay a ridiculous amount of money to have insurance coverage. Teachers are paid by tax payers but do not fall under the "state worker" category when it comes to benefits. The only benefit we have been given from the state was the FRS. I completely agree that we should also contribute to our retirement as in the private sector. As a teacher I do not ask for more than a common person, but would like to be compensated for the 10 hours a day I put in EACH day. Holding a Bachelor and Masters degree in Education my salary is well below what someone with the education I have would make in the private sector. I however love to TEACH, but we are not allowed to teach in the manner that we once had because of upper authorities putting more demands on us that does not effect the classroom.
  • by Laura on May 18, 2011 at 06:40 AM
    Those who can, teach. Those who cannot, create laws about teaching.
  • by Confused by Society's Attitude on May 18, 2011 at 05:59 AM
    I don't get why people think that teaching is a cake job. Teachers are held at the whims of parent, student, and administration demands. There are few other jobs that have such varied demands: police and nursing homes are the only ones I can think of. It seems like people who had a bad time in school are now venting their rage by rooting on poorly implemented legislation
  • by Alex Location: Tallahassee on May 18, 2011 at 05:20 AM
    This may tick people off, but honestly if you are a employee of the state you should not be allowed to unionize. You all all honestly are working for the state, which means you are suppose to be working for the people, not working at having it better than the people. Common people got to pay for health coverage, pay for retirement, or even get bonuses based on how well a job is done. What makes a state employee better than a common person??? State Employee is suppose to be working for the people whom voted their employer in to power.
  • by No more apples for teacher on May 18, 2011 at 04:06 AM
    Mr. Meyer already knows, and his client will soon learn, that the Legislature, not the courts, set public policy in this state. Whether merit pay is fair or unfair is a question for the Leglisture. Similarly, collective bargaining is a "right" conferred by the Legislature and may be rescinded at any time for any, or even no, reason. Seems to me that the teachers' dues money would be better spent on lobbying the Legislature to increase the educational requirements for a teacher's certificate. Has it changed from the 50's?
  • by BULL Location: FL on May 18, 2011 at 03:15 AM
  • by anonymous on May 17, 2011 at 10:17 PM
    Florida Education Association gets NO sympathy from parents of children who do not benefit from Unions being in control of the public school system.
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