Media Blog

Crist Vetoes Controversial Merit Pay Bill

On April 1, I posted about how teachers had taken over Charlie Crist’s Facebook page to protest his support of a bill to end tenure and impose merit pay on Florida teachers. Today, he vetoed the bill.

The St. Petersburg Times reports on it today (before the veto):

Gov. Charlie Crist got some new supporters this week in his campaign for the U.S. Senate.

The question is whether he can keep them.

On Wednesday, teachers from Hillsborough County began canvassing neighborhoods on behalf of the Republican governor, urging voters to support him — as long as he vetoes the bill that would overhaul teacher tenure in Florida.

“I think the public wants to see teachers bonused for doing well, not penalized,” said organizer Aron Zions, a U.S. history teacher at Pierce Middle School in Tampa. “Provide the carrot.”

Many residents weren’t home when he and a colleague knocked on doors in Carrollwood, and several were noncommittal.

“I can’t promise anything,” said Kenneth Latham, a registered Republican.

But down the street, Republican Alfred Wang said he was appalled by what he described as an assault on teachers.

“If Crist is a man, he should veto this,” said Wang, an engineer trained at Rutgers University. “Education is nothing like this.”

Crist is getting lobbied hard from all quarters over Senate Bill 6, which would tie pay to student performance and end multiple-year contracts for teachers. If he decides on a veto, he must do so by midnight Friday.

Prediction: He’s running as an independent.

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