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Date: August 5, 2014 at 9:31:46 AM EDT

Subject: FEA Back to School Membership video

Good Morning!

FEA is pleased to announce that our 5-minute 2014 Back to School Membership video is now available for use in your Back to School recruitment and organizing efforts. 
You may view or download the 2014 Back to School Membership video from

For instructions on downloading this or any of the nearly 100 other videos on MyFEATV for offline viewing (i.e. a meeting where you don't have internet access), please view the 30-second how-to-download video:

Joanne M. McCall, Vice President
Florida Education Association

Dear Friends,

Every day, all of us have to play by the rules. We play by the rules in our classrooms and school work sites, we do it in our interactions with others. But the leaders of the Florida Legislature showed on the last day of this year’s legislative session that the rules don’t mean so much to them. 

That’s why FEA and one of your fellow members -- Tom Faasse, who teaches social studies at East Lee High School in Lehigh Acres – filed a lawsuit today over the way Senate Bill 850 became law in May. We are suing the governor, members of the Cabinet and the education commissioner over legislation passed on the final day of the legislative session that expanded the state’s corporate voucher program, among many other things.

When SB 850 was filed in February, it was a five-page bill that expanded Florida’s collegiate high school program. As the bill traveled through committees, the Legislature added provisions unrelated to collegiate high schools and the bill grew to 40 pages. Included were provisions dealing with public school improvement and accountability, amendments to the Career and Professional Education Act and items related to dropout prevention, school hazing and middle grades reform.

On the next to the last day of session, two other bills -- one that created personal learning accounts for students with disabilities and the other expanding the corporate voucher program – were defeated. On the final day of session these two bills -- House Bill 7167 and Senate Bill 1512 -- were added to SB 850 by a late-filed 141-page amendment.

The Florida Constitution contains restrictions to the Legislature’s authority to create laws, stating that “every law shall embrace but one subject … and the subject shall be briefly expressed in the title.” The legislation passed on the final day of session contains multiple subjects – including the expansion of vouchers – and these multiple subjects are not expressed on the bill’s title.

The people of Florida play by the rules and we should expect that our elected leaders do the same. We should expect that laws are clearly expressed and properly vetted and that laws that failed to pass shouldn’t be tacked onto unrelated legislation at the 11th hour.

This was a clumsy way to expand corporate vouchers after the expansion failed to win approval on its own merits. These voucher schools have little regulation, don’t have to follow the state’s academic standards, don’t have to hire qualified teachers and don’t have to prove to the state that they are using public money wisely. There’s no link between vouchers and gains in student achievement. Yet the Legislature continues to expand voucher schools instead of providing proper funding for our neighborhood public schools.

FEA’s lawsuit, filed in circuit court in Leon County, seeks to have SB 850 declared unconstitutional. It’s only fair that our lawmakers should have to follow the rules, just like the rest of us.

FEA will continue to fight for what’s right for you, our members, and for our students. Please help us make sure our public schools are properly funded and that our students’ education is of paramount importance. You can do that by making sure we elect leaders to the Florida Legislature, the Cabinet and the Governor’s Office who will make the proper investment in our public schools and in our students’ future. We must vote out the leaders who believe that public schools are an investment opportunity for their corporate cronies. Our children’s education is too important.

Joanne M. McCall, Vice President

Florida Education Association


June 2, 2014                              Contact: Mark Pudlow  850.201.3223 or 850.508.9756

FEA: State budget doesn’t add up to a true investment in public schools

TALLAHASSEE – Florida Education Association (FEA) Andy Ford called the state’s record budget, signed today by Gov. Rick Scott, a lost opportunity to make a real investment in Florida’s public schools.
“Yes, there was a modest increase in the budget for public schools. But we’re spending less per student than we spent in the 2007-2008 school year,” Ford said. “This Legislature found even more money for even more tax breaks for corporations, but schools still aren’t funded at the level they were seven years ago.”

Ford said that the recovering state economy presented an opportunity to make up for the drastic cuts made during the downturn and during Scott’s first year in office.
“For seven years we’ve been starving our schools despite the growth in the number of students we’re educating,” Ford said. “This budget represents a squandered opportunity for the governor and the Legislature to make a significant investment in Florida’s public school students.

The Florida Education Association is the state’s largest association of professional employees, with more than 140,000 members. FEA represents pre K-12 teachers, higher education faculty, educational staff professionals, students at our colleges and universities preparing to become teachers and retired education employees.

FEA Action Alert

Tackling VAM
We need your thoughts and opinions about the impact of VAM

There has been much discussion and controversy nationwide about the use of the value-added model (VAM) in teacher evaluations. As part of a Florida research project, we need your help. 

We would like to gather information from all of our teacher members on the impact of the state’s efforts to use VAM numbers in teacher evaluations. We know your time and energy are consumed with your work with students, but we hope you’ll have a little time to fill out a short survey and offer your thoughts and opinions about the impact of VAM.

As part of an NEA research project, we’re going to take your answers and give them to a statistician to analyze the survey and public record data. That statistician will look for patterns, strengths and weaknesses in Florida’s use of VAM numbers and report the findings. This report will help us make VAM’s effects visible to the public.

Your thoughts and information will help all of us understand VAM’s use and impact on the teaching profession.

Please take a few minutes to complete the VAM survey. Please click this link.

Thanks very much!

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