A day after thousands of teachers, school staff members, students, and parents took their message directly to Tallahassee, demanding more funding for education, Gov. Ron DeSantis laid out his plans for education across Florida in his State of the State address.
They hoped DeSantis would more than double his near $1 billion proposal to boost teacher pay and bonuses. They also wanted to see changes to the Common Core curriculum, less testing, smaller class sizes and pay raises for non-teaching staff and veteran teachers.
DeSantis said in his speech, "Our approach to K-12 education rests on (1) recruiting and retaining great teachers, (2) promoting educational choice so parents, particularly low-income parents, can place their child in a good school, and (3) measuring results through accountability.”
DeSantis’ proposal recommends spending $600 million to raise the minimum starting salary for public school teachers by $10,000 to $47,500. DeSantis said it would bring Florida from the bottom half of states to number two in the nation for teacher pay.
The governor is also proposing to end the Best and Brightest bonus program “with a new initiative that will be more equitable – and more generous – so that we can reward our strong-performing teachers and principals,” DeSantis said.
That proposal would make bonuses between $7,500 and $10,000 available for teachers and principals in Title I schools.
The Florida Education Association wants lawmakers to consider infusing $2.4 billion into education, which union leaders say would cover pay raises for all school employees. Bonuses, they say, are not a long-term solution.
DeSantis called the common core framework ‘clearly flawed’ and stated,” When even parents with advanced degrees can’t understand their kids’ math homework, we have a problem.”
"I can reveal that one key to our replacement of Common Core will be a renewed emphasis on American civics and the US Constitution,” DeSantis said. More details will be unveiled in the coming days, he said.
"This means understanding the source of our rights, the theory of the Declaration of Independence, the structure of the Constitution and key amendments such as the Bill of Rights, the post-Civil War amendments and the Nineteenth Amendment."