Teachers Deserve to be Supported Not Attacked

Everyone seems to be aware of the plight of teachers in Florida, except Gov. Jeb Bush and the Legislature.

Teacher shortage! Insulting pay scales! Outrageous requirements! Incredible insurance costs! Using FCAT testing as a panacea for all of Florida''s educational ills! Dissembling reforms that mislead and misguide the public!

The list of problems with education in Florida is lengthy. Short, however, is the list of truly innovative and useful solutions coming from those in charge.

Indeed, this situation will not and cannot improve without the realization that Florida''s teachers are being treated as an unworthy caste.

Unfortunately, the welfare of teachers in Lake County has reached extreme proportions. The teaching profession in Florida and Lake County is anemic. It is in desperate need of morale-boosting hemoglobin!

If only common sense could prevail.

Reduce teacher shortages by offering competitive salaries.

Reduce ridiculous requirements that often invade many teachers'' private lives with long, often useless classes, workshops and seminars.

Reduce the cost of health insurance -- especially for dependent coverage, which is paid for by the employees.

Reduce class size for at least four years, just to see if it really works. The most recent reforms dating back to 1996 have not produced positive results.

Reduce excuses for kids to drop out because the state has created new reforms that do nothing more than make it tougher for some kids to graduate.

For a certain segment of our student population, FCAT (Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test) means Failing for Certain on Achievement Test!

Tragically, for dedicated educators, the concept of "reduction" is a pipe dream.

The only things that get reduced are the numbers of teachers per students, the salaries in relation to years of service, health-insurance benefits, job satisfaction and morale and personal time away from the job.

Hopefully, teachers one day will stand together and send a loud, clear message to the politicians who legislate from the mountaintops:

"Enough! Stop blaming us for the problems you have created!"

Spread accountability around to politicians, School Board members, administrators, parents and students.

Treat us as professionals by giving us the monetary respect and benefits that any other state employee would get.

Elevate the teaching profession to the noble stature it deserves.

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