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Florida Teachers union supports Crist and Meek - Really?

It has been 42 years since Florida's teacher unions were nearly destroyed following the ill conceived 1968 statewide teachers strike. The union has not been the same since and today's decision to split their endorsement between independent Gov. Charlie Crist and Democrat U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek suggests they haven't learned much in all those years about exercising political power.

What is the point in endorsing both men? If the Florida Education Association's 140,000 members are looking for direction this decision gives them none. Making a decision for a single candidate would have taken leadership and political courage.

The press release from the Florida Education Association is on the next page. For up-to-minute reporting from the scene of the FEA and AFL-CIO conference in Jacksonville follow Mike Bender's Post On Politics.

FEA recommends two candidates for U.S. Senate

JACKSONVILLE — The Florida Education Association announced today that it was backing both Gov. Charlie Crist and U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek in the race for a seat in the U.S. Senate.

“Kendrick Meek has always been a strong backer of public education and our positions for as long as he’s been a public service. He has always supported our schools and its employees,” said FEA President Andy Ford. “We wouldn’t have the class size provisions in the Florida Constitution without Kendrick’s tireless work to get that on the ballot and to win its approval. We know Kendrick would be welcome addition to the U.S. Senate.

“Gov. Charlie Crist took bold action this year in bucking the leaders of his former political party and listening to the teachers and parents of Florida when he vetoed Senate Bill 6 and set the stage for a better Florida application in the federal Race to the Top grant,” Ford said. “S.B. 6 energized teachers and parents throughout the state and Crist’s actions showed so many Floridians that their voices count. We think an independent Charlie Crist working for Floridians would also be a great asset in the Senate.”

Ford said the dual recommendation was what FEA would be conveying to its 140,000 members. Ford added that FEA would not be pushing the dual recommendation with the Florida AFL-CIO, which is also meeting in Jacksonville this weekend.

The Florida Education Association is the state’s largest association of professional employees, with more than 140,000 members. FEA represents pre K-12 teachers, higher education faculty, educational support professionals, students at our colleges and universities preparing to become teachers and retired education employees.


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