Today, the Florida Education Association is running a new television ad in the Tallahassee market to thank Gov. Charlie Crist for his veto of the teacher-tenure bill last week.
The FEA is also urging its members to call the governor’s office or send e-mails to personally express their gratitude to Crist, who is running in the state’s Republican primary for a U.S. Senate seat against Marco Rubio, a former speaker of the Florida House. Crist, a moderate Republican, has been badly trailing Rubio, a darling of conservatives, in the polls.
The union has not endorsed Crist in the Senate race, but in interviews with reporters, some individual teachers have said they would vote for Crist in the primary, even changing their party affiliation to do so.
Florida’s lovefest between its Republican chief executive and the largest teachers union is in stark contrast to the gubernatorial-labor relations in three other states: New Jersey, Louisiana, and California.
For a great account of the hostilities in New Jersey, read my colleague Catherine Gewertz’s piece about Gov. Chris Christie and the New Jersey Education Association.
In Louisiana, Gov. Bobby Jindal is pushing a legislative package that is anathema to the unions in his state: it is pro-charter school, would weaken tenure rules, and would tie teacher evaluations to student test scores.
And in California, lame duck Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is joining civil rights groups and the American Civil Liberties Union in backing a measure that would end the practice of laying off teachers strictly based on seniority. The California Teachers Association has launched an all-out assault on the proposed bill.
A version of this news article first appeared in the State EdWatch blog.