‘Itching to get back’: Gov. DeSantis says teachers want back in classrooms

Ron DeSantis
Teachers' union is suing the state.

On Thursday, Gov. Ron DeSantis returned to Fox and Friends to say teachers are “itching to get back” to the classroom.

The Governor was responding to questions about a lawsuit from the Florida Education Association, which seeks to stop schools reopening because their 130,000 members would be in danger.

The Florida Education Association filed a lawsuit Monday charging it would violate the state Constitution to reopen schools that are not “safe” and “secure.”

The suit, filed in Miami-Dade County, lists several defendants including, DeSantis, Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran,  and Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Giménez – all of whom are recognized in their official capacities in the lawsuit.

The Governor said he was “not sure” whether the “position” of the Florida Education Association was driven by “political” concerns, but added that teachers, the union “positions” notwithstanding, are “itching to get back” to the classroom.

“I know school children are at the least risk of coronavirus … and yet they’ve been asked to shoulder the burden,” DeSantis said, saying that the “evidence based decision would be that parents have the ability to have in-person instruction now.”

The Governor noted that “a lot of parents think their students will fall behind” if schools aren’t open as they were before the advent of the novel coronavirus.

DeSantis’ comments, made to a friendly news outlet, build on a speech he gave Wednesday evening, in which he stressed that parents have options if they don’t feel their children are safe, and that teachers could work remotely if they felt imperiled.

“If a school district needs to delay the school year for a few weeks so that everything will be in good shape, have at it,” DeSantis said. “The important thing is that our parents have a meaningful choice when it comes to in-person education.”

Earlier this month, Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran ordered schools to reopen in August. Since that order, the Governor has manufactured wiggle room.

The emergency order is creating confusion about whether schools can choose to stay closed, but school districts may close if their plan is approved by local health departments. In addition to teachers, the order has taken heat from within the state Board of Education.

At a recent meeting, Board member Michael Olenick criticized Corcoran for signing what was effectively an administrative order without input from the Board of Education.

“With all due respect, this order should’ve been brought to the state Board of Education before it went out,” Olenick said. “We should’ve had the opportunity to discuss this. We didn’t.”

While Corcoran and other Board members touted the flexibility afforded schools by the executive order, Olenick insisted that requiring the Department of Health’s approval to close a school district ran contrary to flexibility and that some local health departments would likely deny some school districts’ requests.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


5 comments

  • Sonja Fitch

    July 23, 2020 at 10:16 am

    Omg duffus Desantis has totally gone to paranoid delusional racist sexist liar! Duffus Desantis you have failed to lead in the throes of the trump virus! Have Floridians crosses the 400000 mark yet? Today?

    • Eve

      July 24, 2020 at 11:17 pm

      It’s time to reopen the schools, work and life. 99,5% people recovered. The majority is already immuned to the virus. Have faith and God bless USA.

  • S.B. Anthony

    July 23, 2020 at 11:24 am

    Every appearance on Faux News siphons off a few thousand more votes from the Republicon party. Keep it up “governor.”
    Will you be attending the funerals of your Villages constituents?

  • Frankie M.

    July 23, 2020 at 5:25 pm

    I’m sure he was talking to charter school teachers just happy to have a job that only requires a high school diploma. Beats working the drive thru…do you want fries with that?

    The Governor said he was “not sure” whether the “position” of the Florida Education Association was driven by “political” concerns, but added that teachers, the union “positions” notwithstanding, are “itching to get back” to the classroom.

    I like how Ronnie pretends he is above the fray. If it weren’t for Trump he wouldn’t have his job and if it weren’t for Trump he wouldn’t be pushing for kids to go back to school before we are ready. I am a public school teacher and I am certainly not itching to get back in the classroom. Replace ‘itching’ with ‘dreading’ and his statement would make sense and be alot more accurate.

    Olenick insisted that requiring the Department of Health’s approval to close a school district ran contrary to flexibility and that some local health departments would likely deny some school districts’ requests.

    Certain local health departments in Florida have already said verbally that we should not be going back to school right now but they are scared to put it in writing because guess who controls their funding??? It’s a catch-22.

    TLDR: we are fuct

  • Faith Brown

    July 24, 2020 at 2:30 pm

    Just finished year 16…NOT ITCHING TO GET BACK! I love teaching but the safety of both myself and my students is the most important thing to me. I’m an excellent teacher. I’ve adapted to challenges in the past and will continue to do so in order to do my job well. The one challenge I don’t think I could ever overcome is the guilt of losing a student. These classrooms and schools lack the infrastructure needed to keep students and staff safe, rushing back would have astronomical consequences.

Comments are closed.


#FlaPol

Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch @PeterSchorschFL

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Drew Dixon, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Cole Pepper, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Drew Wilson, and Mike Wright.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704