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Teachers in Lehigh want Crist to veto school bill

By Staff | Apr 14, 2010

Hundreds of motorists in Lehigh Acres were honking their horns for the couple of hours Wednesday afternoon showing their support to 30 or more teachers from Veterans Park Academy for the Arts who were standing near the intersection of Lee Boulevard and Homestead Road with signs high in the air urging Gov. Charlie Crist to veto a bill that would discipline teachers whose students can not pass state mandated tests.
The bill passed the Senate this past weekend and is on Crist’s desk waiting for his approval or veto. The teachers said the bill is unfair and limits them to giving children a good education.
Sharon Rooks, a third grade teacher at the school, said the teachers first had an unrelated staff meeting at the school and then shortly after 3:15 p.m. they and some of their children, who are students at the school, raced to the busy intersection to show their hand-painted signs urging a veto of the bill.
Crist has until Friday at midnight to make a decision on the controversial legislation.
Veterans Park Academy for the Arts is located in Lehigh Acres next to the park in whose name it honors.
Eileen Spainhoward, another teacher on the pavements in front of Blockbusters Video, said many college students are turning away from teaching because of all the demands being made in the schools today.
“We do test after test after test,” she said. “We need time to educate our students.”
The bill would pay teachers whose students score high on state tests more than teachers whose students get poor or failing scores.
There was a constant stream of heavy traffic on both Lee Boulevard and Homestead Road. Horns were blasting almost continuously between 3:15 and 5 p.m., when many motorists were on their way home from work.
The teachers said they saw nobody putting thumbs down or shouting at them during the demonstration.