Teacher Voice – Episode 53: Billy Townsend and the #RallyInTally

L – Billy Townsend, Polk County School Board Member; R – Ryan Haczynski, Teacher-Advocate

In preparing for the #RallyInTally today, I reached out to Polk County School Board Member, fellow advocate, and friend, Billy Townsend. We both planned to be here and knew we should record the first Teacher Voice podcast of 2020 as a discussion about today’s events and whatever else came up organically in our discussion. I will warn everyone that this is a hot take, recorded shortly after the rally wound down, and we pull no punches about what’s to come if we are to turn this thing around to benefit every child in Florida. Please be sure to give it a listen and share with others!

And when you’re done listening to the episode, don’t forget to join Florida’s Fully Inclusive Rebellion for Education (a.k.a #FLFIRE)! In the last two days we have gained an additional 700 members and now more than ever we need to sign up liaisons to help organize the rest of the state, county by county. We hold all the leverage at this point. We have all the power. All it will take is for us to unite and fight as one!




  1. I think it’s naive to think that the unions wouldn’t be kicked out of the equation and a portion of teachers wouldn’t be fired/ re-hired (optionally) on same day, pensions nullified, and put on 18 month pay-freeze. Politicians will use the media and spew on about out with the old/in with the new, have a new excuse to cycle $s to privatization. They put sheriffs in the schools to babysit. You would like to think that if 500 teachers got punished that the rest would strike, eeeek – just what they want. The top heavy administration in Polk doesn’t want to fill-in. You are right about alot of stuff, tx for EVERYTHING! As a parent with an ADA kid forced into FLVS because of redtape and an inept bureaucracy … My kid deserves to get the Polk public education (or better!) than I got here. There’s alot of us voicing our disgust for common core and pushing for opt-out. Find the solutions and the parents will follow (if they can get your message)!


  2. Thank you for this interview. Mr. Townsend is right- we are under a state controlled school system, and what people are looking for from school board members is “what are you willing to do for us in Tallahassee?” Happily, a few of the current school board members in my county, Escambia, are sincere advocates and lobby on behalf of better funding for public education ardently, in Tallahassee and when legislators are at home. The public will have to demand this when people are running for election to their local school boards- because it’s really just as important as setting local education policy. When your hands are tied by the legislature- it really doesn’t matter what your “vision” is for your county school district.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s