What happened: Gov. Ron DeSantis announced a new legislative proposal to benefit and protect teachers on Monday, referring to it as a Teachers’ Bill of Rights. It is the latest of Florida’s educational policy proposals, with previous reforms focusing primarily on students and parents.
Boosting pay: The proposal includes a $200 million pay increase for teachers, with teachers’ pay totaling $1 billion next year. DeSantis successfully allocated over $2 billion in teacher salaries since 2020.
Protecting teachers: The bill of rights would protect teachers who follow the state’s conservative education guidance rather than succumb to pressure to follow the lead of liberal school boards and unions. This means teachers could reject stringent pandemic regulations and highly-partisan teachings, regardless of local guidance, and be protected from punishment by school boards and unions.
Battle with the school boards: School boards are technically nonpartisan, though many members have political affiliations and agendas. Part of the governor’s proposal would impose stricter term limits on board members and allow them to reveal their political parties, making it easier for parents to choose who they want to represent them on the board.
The bigger picture: This proposal is one of the many reforms DeSantis has put forth to revamp Florida’s education system. He also backed candidates that flipped school boards from liberal to conservative, enacted a policy prohibiting teachers from exposing children to gender identity, and limited leftist ideology in college classrooms.