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Higher teacher pay will bring quality education

By Lindy Almony |

Americans speak often about investing in the future with K-12 education. President Barack Obama said during a speech in February that, “Education is an investment that we need to win the future.”

How much, though, do we really invest in education in this country? And how much does the success of our education programs depend on the teachers?

Pence amendment masks dangers of Republican budget

By Alex Bonus |

Instead of meaningful change, our country’s leaders have turned an economic debate into an ideological war over abortion.

Instead of reporting the real dangers of Republican budget cuts, our nation’s media have enflamed emotions on a burnt and withered argument.

Instead of diving into the heart of these issues, we were deceived by a flawless red herring.

The easy way out of a tough spot

By Caroline Young |

New Florida Gov. Rick Scott has always said that he knows what is best for Florida education. His new law, the Student Success Act makes standardized tests the main evaluation tool for teachers’ abilities. And, he says it weeds out the fruitless ones.

Contrary to Scott’s belief, this law is everything but the best choice for our state’s suffering education system.

New teacher pay law stifles student learning

By Cal Colgan |

Class is about to begin. Today’s lesson starts with a simple question: How effective are state tests at determining student performances?

Ah, good. You realize this is a loaded question. After all, the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test is one of the most controversial standardized tests in the Sunshine State’s public schools. Since its passage in 1996, the FCAT has garnered praise from lawmakers and harsh criticism from teachers and their advocates.

Merit pay hurts teachers, taxpayers

By Alex Bonus |

Lawmakers are forcing failed reforms on failing schools, hoping two wrongs makes a passing grade.

The Student Success Act, signed by Gov. Rick Scott on March 24, ties teacher salaries to student achievement. Starting July 1, professional evaluators will rank teachers on a four-part scale to determine their eligibility for bonuses, pay raises and promotions.

Newt, a social conservative, I don’t think so

By Mari Pothier |

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich seems to be playing that typical political game of do as I say not as I do.

Despite the fact that he has been married three times, Gingrich is pursuing a possible run for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination as a social conservative. But wait a minute. Aren’t social conservatives supposed to represent fundamental Christian values, one being the sanctity of marriage?

But good old Gingrich still thinks he is the man for the job.

College life in a landmark

By Kelly Gibbs |

When I moved to St. Augustine from Gainesville two years ago, I never dreamed I’d one day sit on a sidewalk shooting the breeze with two older black men taking pictures of a former slave cabin and sharing neighborhood gossip.

I was excited to find my own cheap apartment down the street from campus in Lincolnville in August 2009. I was told I was moving into a “mixed neighborhood” by my landlady, but didn’t understand the phrase.

Florida educators hurting because of government

By Mari Pothier |

Florida’s done it again, shooting itself in the foot when it comes to public education.

The state already struggles in this department, but Gov. Rick Scott signed into law the Student Success Act that will make standardized tests like the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test the basis for teacher evaluations and pay. Also with the act, new teachers coming into the system will not be able to receive tenure.