Apr 7, 2011

The Road To Success In Florida - A Great Example For Members Who Want To Make A Difference

Last month we congratulated Florida for passing one of the country’s most aggressive education reform packages. The Student Success Act implements several measures that put students first. Read our previous blog post, "StudentsFirst applauds Florida's passage of breakthrough education reform legislation", for highlights of the new law.
Just before the final legislative vote, hundreds of members in Florida -- including parents, educators and other concerned citizens -- responded immediately to our call to action. Members rallied together so that state leaders knew exactly where they stood, as constituents, on education reform.
Members showed up in record numbers to the state Capitol to testify before the Senate and House Committee. They participated in panel discussions and shared their stories and support for the bill through persuasive editorials. They stayed up-to-date with our online state action center and through this web tool, they sent more than 900 letters to state leaders urging them to vote in favor of critical reforms that benefit kids.
Matthew Minnick, a law student at Florida State University College of Law, testified before the Florida State House and Senate. After several years of teaching, he decided that his passion was to help kids through challenging system-wide practices that negatively impact schools. He plans to use his law degree to bring education reform to millions of students.
“Being able to testify in front of the House and Senate,” he said, “I watched my dreams become reality. I could see the expression on the faces of the people who got to hear my story -- all of our stories -- about why it is so vital to pay teachers based on merit, not on years spent teaching and I knew then that I was making a difference.”
Jean Morris taught for 43 years and is an active StudentsFirst member who also testified.
“Listening to fellow educators voice their concerns,” she said, “I understood where their fears were coming from, but know as things progress they will realize this legislation was a step in the right direction to improve public education for the students of Florida.”
Florida isn’t the only state with passionate StudentsFirst members itching to make a difference.
How can you get involved?
Right now, we are in the midst of launching active campaigns in many states. We will keep you up-to-date about the progress of reform in your state and what you can do to make your voice heard in support of reform. Here are some things you can do now:
We need you to help us show legislators that Americans support policies that put an effective teacher in every classroom, provide more quality school choices for families and allocate resources in ways that drive student achievement.
Your voice is important, and we can’t wait to hear it!

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