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HomeAt Home & BeyondDeSantis unveils teacher bill of rights plan

DeSantis unveils teacher bill of rights plan

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Teachers in Florida would be protected from litigation and be able to choose whether or not to join a union under a legislative package unveiled by Gov. Ron DeSantis. Also, under the proposal, the state would invest another $1 billion in teacher pay representing a $200 million increase over the state’s investment during the prior year.

“This is a huge package to increase teacher pay, support teacher empowerment, and protect teachers’ paychecks by ensuring they have control over their hard-earned salary,” DeSantis said during a Jan. 23 press event in Jacksonville. “We’re going to support teachers because one teacher can make a difference in the lives of (these) students.”

Called the Teachers Bill of Rights, the plan calls for a new process for individuals to notify the state of a violation of teachers’ rights and ensure that the Department of Education can investigate those claims. It would also give teachers a “stand your ground” policy to shield teachers from litigation and professional sanctions when they act to maintain safety in their classrooms. The proposed law also provides civil remedies for teachers who are asked to violate Florida law by their employers and punished for refusing to do so.

The plan clarifies that teachers may, on an individual basis, choose whether or not to join a union and would not face repercussions if they don’t. It also requires school unions to notify members annually of the cost of membership, prohibits them from distributing union materials in the workplace, and forbids union officials from being paid more than the highest-paid member of that union.

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Finally, the package lowers the term limit for school board members to eight years from the current 12 years. In addition, it would allow candidates for local school boards to run on a partisan basis as either Republicans or Democrats.

“I’m a big believer in term limits across the board,” DeSantis said. The Governor’s education package will come before the Legislature during its regular session, which begins in March.

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