From NWF Daily News reporter Tom McLaughlin on Matt Gaetz meting yesterday with the League of Women Voters of Okaloosa County:
Gaetz, “an unapologetic supporter of FCAT,” debated school testing and teacher tenure with a couple of former educators in the audience.
One of them, Pat Burrough, said she couldn’t understand why the state would authorize an exam like Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test that she contended focused only on math and reading.
“I never saw it as a real good test for students,” Burrough said.
Gaetz predicted that legislation will trend more this year toward “de-emphasizing portions of the FCAT people find troublesome.”
The move in education, he said, would be “more toward end-of-course” testing.
“We shouldn’t take the scoreboard down in the classroom,” and a competitive world demands measurable standards for students, he said.
Gaetz called teacher tenure “an immoral concept.” He said he favors removing teachers found to be “chronically underperforming” after a period of three years.
“Too often we allow teachers who shouldn’t be there to stay in the classroom,” he said.
Gaetz is no insignificant politician. He just missed being a future speaker of the state house. His father, Don, is president of the senate and one of the most powerful men in the state. Moreover, Don Gaetz, was Okaloosa County’s superintendent of schools. Does he hold the same view? Do both Gaetz feel the teachers who worked for the Gaetz and taught the younger Gaetz are engaged in an immoral concept?
A gaffe is when a politician let’s slip what he really feels. Both Gaetz’ will attempt to walk this back within the next few days, but the train has left the station. They’re own contempt aside for the teacher’s they’ve both been closely associated, both know that the teachers of Okaloosa county have been a widely respected group. And long before either came on the scene. This will not remain a local issue.