What is the FLFIRE Movement? It is a grassroots organization consisting of educators, parents, students, and engaged community members who are banding together to share their concerns about the current state of Florida public education.
Want to join? You can click this link to access the Facebook group and keep up with all major announcements and calls to action, or you can simply register here on the FLFIRE registration Google Form to get direct email updates.
Vision: a better, more humane public education system for all people learning and working in our schools.
Mission: to build a non-partisan body of concerned citizen stakeholders that will take collective action to ensure that all educators and students have the resources they need to deliver and receive a uniform, safe, secure, high-quality, and free public education that includes wrap-around services to support our most vulnerable children.
FLFIRE has five essential demands:
- A robust and on-going investment in education that will provide the necessary resources to provide services to students, including but not limited to meaningful increases in the base student allocation so that substantial raises can be given to all educators who have a direct connection and impact on a child. From the bus driver who greets him or her in the morning to the custodian who cleans up after the student when school is over, every adult who comes into contact with that child during the school day is an educator.
- A significant reduction in all standardized testing and associated progress monitoring, including the elimination of all EOCs to be replaced by a concordant score for high school graduation equivalency purposes. If the FSA must remain, the tests should return to a paper and pencil format to facilitate administration, and all high-stakes consequences such as grade retention or graduation must be removed.
- A complete elimination of VAM (Value Added Measure) from performance ratings. Allow educators to work with their respective school districts to come up with alternative ways to demonstrate how their students have made gains in their learning, from portfolios of class work to evidence of on-going professional development.
- A return to professional contracts that last the length of an educator’s current, non-temporary Florida teaching certificate (5 years), or possibly longer if the teacher has earned National Board certification (10 years). Annual contracts have been and will continue to be detrimental if teachers are always worried about losing their jobs. A professional, multi-year contract demonstrates the state and district’s respect for the educator.
- An honest willingness to listen to students, parents, and educators when it comes to our input about Florida Public Education. For years we have been a growing chorus of civic concern that has been routinely ignored by elected officials, the very people who instead have chosen to side with think tanks, special interests, and corporate advocacy, all to the detriment of the humanity for those learning and working in our schools.
WAYS YOU CAN GET INVOLVED
- Take a personal day on 1/14/20.* There will be demonstrations / rallies / marches in various districts throughout the state, most certainly in Tallahassee. If enough educators take a personal day on the first day of the new legislative session, districts will have no option other than to close for the day.
- Use the #FLFIRE hashtag on social media when discussing education topics or issues, as well as #FundOurFutureFL and #FLPublicEdVoter, two critical messages we must carry forward into the election season of 2020.
- Wear #RedForEd every Wednesday and post your individual / group pic on social media, telling others why you are joining the #FLFIRE movement and wearing red. Share a sign with reasons for why you’re upset about the state of education, or why you are taking a personal day on 1/14/20.
- Sign up to become a #FLFIRE liaison. With the guidance and encouragement of Rebecca Garelli, co-founder and chief organizer for Arizona Educators United, we are employing a similar strategy of finding one teacher in every school who can reach out to the rest of the staff. As a liaison, you will have a direct and important impact on the movement. If you believe you are this person, please sign the document now; if you know another person at another school who could fill this role, please share this information with him or her.
- Download a copy of the #FLFIRE school board proclamation and ask your local school board members to issue the call for solidarity at their final meeting of the year in December. FLFIRE School Board Proclamation
Follow along on social media!
*Legal Disclaimer: Having spoken with numerous law enforcement officials and lawyers over the last few months, legally a teacher may lose his or her teaching certificate and/or pension. Considering Florida is already facing a dire teacher shortage due to the on-going exodus from the profession, it seems highly unlikely they would seek retribution against the very people whom our elected officials have slighted and shortchanged over the last dozen years, especially if we number in the tens of thousands. I may have lived in Florida for over 20 years, but I am New England born and bred; being subjugated is not something we tolerate well. Perhaps we should all draw our inspiration from Henry David Thoreau and engage in some long overdue civil disobedience.
As I wrote back in August… “How Much Abuse Is Enough?”