Statewide teachers union the Florida Education Association is taking umbrage with comments made by Governor Ron DeSantis this week, suggesting the organization is partisan.
DeSantis delivered the remark during his appearance at the Associated Press' legislative preview event, while ansering a reporter's question concerning his teacher pay proposal.
DeSantis is proposing raising starting pay for teachers to $47,500. The FEA, though, has questioned how that will benefit more experienced teachers, and has called for a $2.4 billion education investment in the upcoming budget.
When asked for his thoughts on the FEA's stance, DeSantis had this to say:
"It’s just funny though, I mean look - let’s not pretend there’s not politics involved in this, I mean it’s just the fact of the matter - I’m a republican, they’re not. And so what I’m doing is never going to be enough, and my job is not to do what the union wants, it’s what I think is best for education and particularly for individual teachers."
FEA President Fedrick Ingram says he’s ‘deeply disappointed’ to hear DeSantis “dismiss the voices of the 145,000 teachers and education staff represented” by the FEA. Ingram says advocating for increasing teacher pay is not a partisan issue. He is urging the governor and Department of Education to host a listening tour to hear from teachers and school staff.
"If the governor is serious about the issue of pay, we’d suggest he conduct a listening tour with teachers and education staff, much like what his administration has done with Common Core," Ingram said in a statement. "Our door is open. We want to work with Gov. DeSantis to improve public schools.”