Media distorts tenure bill

The media has the primary role to inform, entertain and report with accuracy.

What happens when the media does its job but the public gets a distorted message? Is it the media’s fault or people’s inability to comprehend and analyze the information presented to them?

Last week, CNN reported the passing of Senate Bill 6, showing live video of teachers in Miami protesting the bill. The strike may have been in response to the false notion that the bill would measure a teacher’s pay on factors dealing with student performance that instructors cannot control such as the child’s socioeconomic status.

Although Gov. Charlie Crist vetoed the bill – a move that could spell political victory or suicide in the upcoming GOP primary – SB6 will likely reappear in next year’s legislative session.

The legislation would require teacher evaluations to be based primarily on student
performance, but there are implications in the bill that has been excluded by the media.

According to a question and- answer form available on the Florida Department Education’s Web site, “the law does not defi ne ‘primarily’ and the relationship between student performance and teacher pay correlation will  vary by school district.

The proposed bill requires a “students performance be measured by the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test and other assessments for subjects not evaluated by the FCAT.”

Despite the governor’s disdain for the bill, some educators, as well as those in training, are worried about the bill gaining momentum during the legislative off-season.

“SB 6 is ridiculous because you cannot base someone’s job on student achievement.What if a student has a bad background doesn’t go to classes and when he goes he doesn’t want to be there or has disabilities,” said Kyisaiah Joyce, 22, a graduating counseling education student from Plant City, Fla.

Joyce fears that the proposed bill will lead to teachers not challenging their pupils in an effort to keep their jobs.

Some Floridians have listened to the media propaganda without knowing the facts about an education system being constantly jeopardized by politics. While educators and lawmakers have presented passionate arguments concerning the issue, the victims of this proposed bill have been placed on the back burner.