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Scott Caps off Education Listening Tour with Pledge

Last week, Governor Rick Scott continued to show Floridians that he is committed to providing our children with a world class education. Below is a recap of the week's events, including what parents and teachers are saying about the Governor's efforts.

9/15/2012 Associated Press: Fla. Gov. Rick Scott says he will keep steady, maybe even boost, money for public schools

Florida Gov. Rick Scott is vowing to maintain funding for the state's public schools next year. Scott also said Friday night he would aim to boost the money that is available for schools for the 2013 school year.

Scott made his comments after a two-hour meeting with the state's teacher union...Union president Andy Ford said he was encouraged by the start of a dialogue with the governor.

9/17/2012 Tampa Bay Times: Gov. Scott vows not to cut education funding

"In our dinner tonight, I told the FEA that as we continue to develop our education agenda we are going to, at a minimum, sustain current state funding for education in the next budget and depending on the state's economic outlook, aim to increase education funding where we can improve student outcomes." -Governor Rick Scott

9/17/2012 Ocala Star Banner: Local education leaders encouraged by governor's pledge for more funds

[T]he governor has been touring the state and promising that he intends to keep a closer eye on education and will fight hard for more dollars for education. "I'm impressed by the fact that he is looking everyone, at every stop, in the eye and telling us his plans," Yancey said.

9/14/2012 Orlando Sentinel: Gov. Scott to students: Plan for future, seek skills to land good jobs in a competitive, global market that "will rapidly change"

Gov. Rick Scott, busy with his "education listening tour" this week, has continued his school themed week by also penning letters for Florida's high seniors and college freshmen. The similar letters...urge students to think about and plan for their futures in a rapidly changing world. He tells them they'll be competing with job seekers from other countries and need skills employers want.

9/14/2012 Associated Press: Gov. Scott sends letters to thousands of students

In what may be a first for a sitting governor, Scott this month asked school districts, community colleges and universities to send out letters penned by the governor...The letter has already sparked some positive responses. Mary Etheridge, a student at Northwest Florida State College, wrote college officials back and called it "light at the end of the tunnel." "This letter has given me more hope and encouragement to continue to finish what I started with in college," Etheridge wrote.

Scott's move to send out the letters is coming at the same time that he has been on an "education listening tour" around the state. The first week of the tour ended with Scott dining with representatives of the Florida Education Association at the governor's mansion. The union has been at odds so far with several of Scott's policies. But after the two-hour meeting, Scott and FEA President Andy Ford praised the start of a "dialogue" even if they don't agree on details.

"If we are going to make sure Florida is the best education system in the country, which I think is everybody's goal...we've got to bring everybody to the table," Scott said.

9/17/2012 Northwest Florida Daily News: Gov. Scott wraps up listening tour in Okaloosa County

[Okaloosa County] Superintendent Alexis Tibbetts said Monday's meeting was one of several efforts made locally by Scott. "This has been great," Tibbetts said Monday morning. "I think he's very open to communicating and listening and our teachers have been very open and honest."

9/13/2012 WDBO: Governor Scott 'listens' in Orange County

Making stops all around Florida, Scott focused on funding, recognizing teacher's achievement, and the personal spending of teachers for their students...[Roxanne Schreffler, a teacher at Fern Creek Elementary] believed Scott was sincere in his listening. "I think that he was a very active listener. He took notes and asked a lot of in-depth questions," said Schreffler.

9/12/2012 WTSP: Governor Rick Scott's 'Listening Education Tour' stops in Pinellas

Band teacher David Tagliarini says he came with an open mind. "I came into this thinking [Gov. Scott] will put a sincere effort to listen to the stakeholders, listen to teachers." ...Tagliarini says he thinks the governor is listening. "He seems sincere taking notes in the right places, made the right comments.

9/12/2012 Naples Daily News: Lee County teachers tell Gov. Scott about testing, retention and students' needs

Eleven [Lexington Middle School] teachers spoke with the governor for an hour about several issues including standardized testing, keeping good teachers in the classroom, lack of funds for field trips and school supplies, and the need to show students how they are progressing through the school year.

The visit is part of an educational tour Scott is embarking on to get the opinions of teachers, students and parents on Florida's educational system. "This is to get your ideas," he said. "I have never met a teacher who didn't want to have an impact on students. ... The goal is to listen to you."

9/11/2012 Palm Beach Post: Gov. Scott's 'listening tour' of schools takes him to Boca Raton High

"It was good to have him listening and open to ideas," said Rob Sweeten, a photography teacher.

"He is looking for ideas to make a change in the state," [one parent, Eric] Applewhite said.