Governor Crist on SB 6
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04/09/10 Arielle Stevenson
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Gov. Charlie Crist.


photo by Seán Kinane/WMNF (Aug. 2009)

Florida House members voted in favor of Senate Bill 6 last night. Now the fate of Senate Bill 6 is in the hands of Gov. Charlie Crist. Last night, Crist was in town speaking to students at USF St. Petersburg.

It was a late night in Florida’s capitol as lawmakers debated Senate Bill 6, which would overhaul how teachers are evaluated in the state’s schools. The debate ended with a 64-55 vote in favor of the legislation. But Crist says he isn’t taking this decision lightly.

I’m not reconsidering, I’m just thinking. And I think that everybody that’s responsible would want that. I understand that there are good parts in it, and I understand that there are parts that concern me. So the House is dealing with it as we speak; the Senate has already passed it, and I want to take the time and see if it does pass, which I think it probably will. Our system of government is set up where the governor has seven days to think, and I would do just that.

Florida’s current system is based on years in the classroom and education. SB 6 would use student performance on standardized tests as the basis for half of an educator’s evaluation. According to the St. Petersburg Times, Sen. John Thrasher, the bill’s sponsor, indicated that Crist had guaranteed his signature of approval. But Crist said last night that isn’t true.

I indicated to him, as I did to many others that I had a favorable impression of it, but I never give guarantees.

For Crist, the decision has the potential to make or break his current run in the Senate primary against fellow republican Marco Rubio. The teacher’s union has been extremely outspoken regarding SB 6, and could possibly hurt Crist’s bid for Senate if the governor signs his name on the legislation.

I think you want to do as much good as you possibly can with any piece of legislation, with as little downside as possible. Once the final product gets to my desk, which I believe may be later tonight or early tomorrow, then I will have a chance to see what that final product is. My understanding is that it won’t get amended, and if that’s the case we are going to have to go through every page of it. It went from 46 to 62 pages in a couple days, so this is an animal that is changing all the time. That’s why I think it’s important to take the time to reflect upon it.

More WMNF coverage of Senate Bill 6:

Crist won’t show his hand on possible SB 6 veto

Hillsborough teachers protest bills in Florida Legislature

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