governor ron desantis Unveiled a raft of proposals aimed at increasing teacher “empowerment,” including spending an additional $200 million on pay increases and giving educators more power to discipline students.
But Democrats in the House and Senate argued the announcement was merely political fodder.
“This is a political move by someone who wants to run for president and distract attention from the abortion discussion,” said the House Democratic leader. Fentress Driskelfrom Tampa.
Desantis announced at a press conference on Monday He wants an extra $200 million in this year’s teacher salary budget.combine $800 million has been allocated to the budget Over the past few years, it will bring the annual total to $1 billion.
According to the governor, if the Legislature approves the latest funding increase, it would bring teachers to an average starting salary of $48,000 a year.
Not all school districts have raised teacher salaries, though, and DeSantis blamed the delay on local school districts and unions that failed to reach an agreement.
Driscoll said Florida Democrats support higher teacher salaries, but said the state should increase the number of teachers and give districts “a long time ago the ability to control teacher salaries and let them do what they need to do.”
DeSantis also supports a measure to eliminate the automatic deduction of union dues from teachers’ salaries. Similar attempts have been made in the past, but were unsuccessful. Democrats say the efforts are politically motivated because Republicans have yet to end automatic dues for police or firefighter unions, which, unlike teachers’ unions, typically support the GOP.
DeSantis also said he supports giving teachers more power to discipline students and providing teachers with additional protections against actions that run afoul of local school board policies.
DeSantis proposes proposal as House speaker paul rayner promote expansion of Family Empowerment Scholarship Program.The program is currently limited to households with incomes at or below 375% federal poverty lineRainer wants it expanded so that a family of four earning more than $104,063 a year would be eligible.
DeSantis’ announcement also follows news that Florida high school students will not be able to take the new Advanced Placement course in African American studies because the DeSantis administration says it violates state law and “lacks educational value.”
“I think it’s gaslighting, because on the one hand you can’t say, ‘Teachers, we’re going to impair your ability to bargain collectively and pay union dues. Teachers, you can’t teach history accurately. Teachers, you’re at gunpoint , we’re going to put you guys up against these for-profit charter schools and give away all these coupons to these private schools that don’t require their teachers to be equally trained and certified. But here’s some money, and we hope you feel better,’ ’ said Driskell.
“No. We need to discuss this in context and the responsibility of the state legislature and this governor in running our education system.”
Senator Minority Leader of the Senate. lauren book Agree with Driskell.
Booker said the extra money is welcome, but how it is distributed is critical.
“We have to respect our teachers, we have to give them what they deserve and what we owe them,” she said. That’s one of the devil’s in the details. “
Gray Roller Florida Politics contributed to this report.
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