Column: Florida teachers union should celebrate teacher success

At the EdFly Blog today, former Orlando Sentinel columnist Mike Thomas asks a reasonable question: Why isn’t the Florida teachers union trumpeting the dramatic gains of Florida teachers? This morning’s Education Week ranking is just the latest in a long string of credible reports that finds Florida making steady academic progress. Shouldn’t Florida teachers, doing more with less and under enormous pressure to produce results, get credit from those who portray themselves as their biggest supporters? Here’s Thomas:

FEA President Andy Ford
FEA President Andy Ford

Florida scored another impressive victory with the state finishing sixth in the Education Week “Quality Counts’’ rankings.

This follows news from last month that Florida fourth graders finished second in the world on international reading assessments. In October, Miami-Dade won the prestigious Broad Prize for urban school districts because of progress in closing the achievement gap. Florida kids ranked second in the nation in learning gains dating back to the 1990s. I could go on.

Alas, Florida’s good news is not celebrated by all, even by its own teachers’ union. The Florida Education Association has been silent on all of the above, even though its teachers are on the front lines of these successes. Repentant reformer Diane Ravitch actually compared student achievement in Florida and Massachusetts. Of course Massachusetts kids perform better. Look at the student demographic and income data, Diane. Are you serious?

The reason for this denial is that Florida did not achieve its success by acceptable means. By that, I mean if the state had achieved these results by tripling education spending and eliminating its accountability provisions and school choice options, the above victories would have been trumpeted from the rooftops by the FEA and Diane as well.

Continue reading Thomas’ post here.

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BY reimaginED staff


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