Members of the Florida Education Association are traveling around the state to raise awareness about several items that concern Florida teachers.
Although Florida is ranked 9th in USA economies, Florida teaching salaries rank 46th in the country. This caused a shortage of 3,500 teachers statewide, leaving more than 300,000 students being taught by a non-certified teacher. The FEA is striving to have a certified teacher in every classroom. In order to resolve these problems, Governor. Ron DeSantis’ proposed a $603 million compensation plan, which would include raising a new teacher’s salary to $47,000 a year.
The FEA tour is also promoting ending “high stakes” student testing, and smaller class sizes. President of the FEA, Fedrick C. Ingram, states: “We are …ready to take on those who have used their power to drain our public schools not only of desperately needed funding, but of the joy of learning.”
The tour, which began on October 21 and ends on November 23, will have 50 stops which include 30 counties. On November 4 the tour stopped at Village Oaks and Lake Trafford Elementary schools. Every half an hour, Executive FEA members, Fredrick Ingram, (President), Andrew Spar, (Vice President), and Carole Gauronskas, (Secretary-Treasurer) demonstrated the fun in learning as they read books to enthusiastic children, who sang and laughed as they listened to the books. The children were thrilled as they were given books in their native language. Lyle Farmer, Director for Collier County Education Association, stated that during July, the FEA brought 10,000 books to the Immokalee community park and let children K—12 pick out as many books as they wanted.
Later that evening, the FEA had a Public School Awareness event at Lorenzo Walker Technical College. The red and white bus that the FEA members are traveling in, states their purpose on the side: “Fund Public Schools Fund Our Future”.