Target: Florida Education Commissioner Gerard Robinson
Goal: Allocate funding to provide fair teacher compensation
Teachers in Florida are being asked to teach an extra hour for which there is not enough funding to pay them. This turn of events, placing more demands on teachers who already have a full load, comes after legislation was passed mandating the 100 lowest performing schools to provide reading instruction after school. The state of Florida earmarked $30 million to distribute to districts to pay the teachers that would be teaching these required after school courses. However, $30 million has shown to be insufficient, and it is unknown where additional funds will come from.
Perhaps the hardest hit county is Palm Beach, which set aside $5 million to cover the additional teacher expenses. However, when test scores came out the majority of schools in the district were required to offer the additional reading classes. To fairly compensate the teachers required to meet the demand the district would need $7-8 million. Similar situations are occurring in Miami-Dade and Broward County schools. It is unclear where the extra funds will come from. Teachers have historically been asked to bear large workloads for relatively little compensation. The state of Florida needs to provide sufficient funding for a program it mandated immediately.
Republican state senator David Simmons had long pushed for this legislation to pass. He is an advocate of a longer school day, more comparable to other countries who often outscore American students in standardized exams. While this is not a bad idea, it is important to make sure there are enough resources to make it effective and not just another hour of school. Florida teachers are largely unhappy with being told they would have an extra hour tacked onto their day with very short notice, and uncertainty with how they would be paid.
Florida schools are increasing demands on teachers without secure sources of funding. The state of Florida needs to allocate more funding to support a program they passed into law. Please sign this petition asking the Florida Education Department to pay teachers for all time worked.
Dear Mr. Robinson,
Many Florida teachers are being asked to work an extra hour per day for which there is not sufficient funding to pay them. Teachers already have full workloads and should not be asked to work even more without secure funding for their compensation in place.
The legislation mandating the 100 lowest performing schools in Florida to provide an extra hour of reading instruction after school is well intentioned, but it won’t be effective if the number of teachers required to meet the commitment are not paid. The $30 million earmarked to cover teacher compensation is not enough. If fewer teachers are used students will suffer in larger classes and test scores will not improve. Currently, districts are struggling to figure out how to cover the extra costs. Sufficient funding must be provided immediately.
A longer school day focusing on areas of need for students is admirable. However, there must be enough resources to make sure it is a success. Many teachers have expressed concern that they are being asked to take on more work with little notice and uncertainty with how they will be paid.
Please make sure the longer school day is beneficial to both students and teachers by allocating more funding to support the after school program that was passed into law.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Danika Garcia