“It is so refreshing to have an elected official listen to the views of teachers on these education reforms that will affect us so much.”

-Robert Dow, Palm Beach County Classroom Teachers Association

On Tuesday March 1, 2011 Senator Sachs met with Palm Beach County Classroom Teachers Association President, Robert Dow and Broward Teachers Union President, Pat Santaramo.  United Teachers of Dade President, Karen Aronowitz, was teleconferenced in to the meeting as well.  Joining the dialogue were several teachers from each district, selected by their respective union representatives to voice their concerns and share their perspectives.

Senator Sachs began the meeting by introducing herself and confirming what all those present already knew, that change is coming to education in Florida.  Of particular concern to teachers are the currently proposed methods of evaluation and the significant curtailment of collective bargaining strength for teachers unions.  Some stressed that many of these proposed “reforms” are either untested or have failed in other places and suggested that the changes at least be piloted first.  Others emphasized the lack of funding for the handed down mandates.

At the meetings conclusion, Senator Sachs and those present resolved to work together on a new education bill over the summer that would involve significant teacher input to modify the existing proposed changes.

“I have learned so much from these teachers today.  No one cares about children more than our teachers.  In order for our children to benefit, we must include them in the conversation on the future of their profession,” said Senator Sachs.  “Simply treating schools like businesses and children like widgets will not solve our problems.  Each child’s situation is unique and complex.  Who better to help us handle that complexity than those professionals that work with them every day?”

Senator Sachs addresses teachers' concerns with Evan Axelbank of local Fox 29

Senator Sachs at the table with BTU President, Pat Santaramo

Senator Sachs with Palm Beach County teachers and PBC CTA President Robert Dow