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Education

Teachers Praise Gov. Scott In New Online Ad

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=FSUNjQH3nkA

The Republican Party of Florida is out with a new web ad featuring teachers praising Gov. Rick Scott.

The teachers were recorded at the recent summit Scott hosted in Tallahassee. Most of the teachers thank Scott for investing in education, particularly his push for across-the-board raises.

“I think Gov. Scott is a visionary. He’s a brilliant businessman,” one teacher says in the video. “What he’s done for the business world in Florida, I think he can incorporate that in education.”

Another says she feels teachers have the governor’s ear.

“We know that he listens to us,” she says.

The Tampa Tribune caught up with some of those teachers, who said they didn't know that their comments would be used in a political ad. One said it was "inappropriate" for her to praise Scott on behalf of her colleagues.

Education has been a key issue for Scott as he focuses on his reelection efforts next year.

Scott took office and immediately pushed to cut education spending. The first bill he signed into law required teachers are evaluated based — in part — on student test scores, requires teachers are paid based on those evaluations and ends long-term teacher contracts for new hires or those who change districts.

The law is unpopular with many teachers and the state teacher’s union has filed a suit challenging the law.

Scott was one of the most unpopular governors in the country according to polls during his first year in office.

Since then he has turned education into a priority. Last year he gave an ultimatum to state lawmakers to add $1 billion to the K-12 budget and restore some of what had previously been cut during the Great Recession. This year he asked for across-the-board teacher raises, keeping the pressure on when lawmakers wanted to base raises on performance instead.

Recent polls show the public’s opinion of Scott is improving, though next year’s gubernatorial race is expected to be one of the most competitive in the country.

This is not the first time the Republican Party of Florida has put out an online ad emphasizing Scott’s education record. Scott also said he was listening to parent and school district complaints about the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test in another RPOF ad (though we should note the state had already decided to mostly eliminate the FCAT).