Ron DeSantis announces school reform plan designed to empower teachers and diminish unions
As Iowa makes big progress toward school choice, Governor Ron DeSantis has unveiled a far-reaching program to free up government school teachers to be effective in the classroom, pay them better, and weaken the ability of unions to compel teachers to join and extract dues, most of which are funneled toward political donations to Democrats. Calling the plan the "Teachers' Bill of Rights" shows how smartly he is pursuing support from the teachers.
Very shrewdly, DeSantis short circuits the ability of the unions to scream that he is “attacking teachers” by visibly and tangibly helping individual teachers in their work and financially. WWSB TV reports:
DeSantis announced his legislative proposal, the Teacher’s Bill of Rights, that the governor states would empower educators to be leaders in their classrooms, enact paycheck protection, reduce terms for school board members from twelve to eight years, and invest another $1 billion in teacher pay.
DeSantis stated that the bill would create “stand your ground” protections for teachers who enforce classroom discipline. Details will follow, but this sounds like protection from discipline, legal consequences and lawsuits.
The legislation would prohibit unions from collecting dues directly from teacher paychecks, prohibit distribution of union materials at the workplace. Employees would have to submit a form acknowledging that Florida is a right to work state and union participation is optional. Unions would also have to represent 60% of the staff instead of the current 50%.
The $1 billion boost in teacher pay follows a previous $2 billion provided since 2020, the largest pay increase for teachers in Florida history. DeSantis is attracting support from teachers while diminishing the ability of hard left unions to force them into paying dues, while diminishing their appeal thanks to the pay raises he is offering, effectively increasing their take-home pay.
It is a great sign that two states are moving strongly to make education a GOP issue, as was done in Virginia to great success. Given the exorbitant costs and sorry performance of American government schools, this is a major opportunity.
Photo credit: YouTube screengrab