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In Selecting a Teacher for His Running Mate, Charlie Crist Walks the Walk

And thats a good political move around in circumstances where Ron DeSantiss teacher-bashing must be called out.

Among the ugliest manifestations of the conservative assault on public education has been the open disdain that Republican politicians and their media allies show for teachers. Within their smear campaign, right-wing politicians and pundits are painting educators as agents of anti-American indoctrination, groomers of children for sexual abuse, and shiftless burdens on the taxpayers. Its gotten so very bad that in Wisconsin, the Republican challenger to Democratic Governor Tony Evers is bashing the incumbenta former science teacher and elementary school teacherfor employed in the training establishment all his life.

The message from GOP heavyweights is clear: Teachers aren’t to be trusted, respected, as well as liked. No wonder so many districts in the united states are struggling to fill teaching positions because the 2022 school year begins.

But Charlie Crist, the Democratic nominee against arguably the nastiest teacher-basher of the bunch, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, is pushing back.

Crist, a former governor and current Democratic representative, isn’t just embracing teachers as essential contributors to public schools and communities. He’s got chosen to create among Floridas most outspoken and activist teachers his running mate for lieutenant governor.

After winning the August 23 Democratic gubernatorial primary by way of a landslide, Crists first task was to mention you to definitely run with him on the partys fall ticket. He considered Karla Hernndez-Mats, a former special education teacher and Hialeah Community Middle School Teacher of the entire year, who currently serves as president of United Teachers of Dade. Hernndez-Matss union is associated with the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association and may be the largest teachers union in the Southeastern USA. Its also probably the most influential local labor organizations in the united kingdom.

She wasnt only a teacher. She was a teacher of special needs children. Thats a heart. Thats a heart: caring, loving, empathetic, compassionatethats what we dont have in the governors office at this time, said Crist at an announcement rally at the Miami-area middle school where his running mate taught. You understand her, you like her, I really like her. Meet up with the next lieutenant governor of Florida, Karla Hernndez-Mats.

Hernndez-Mats, a lively leader who won her second term as leader of United Teachers of Dade with 73 percent of the vote, hit the statewide campaign trail running.

Are you currently thrilled and prepared to get back Florida? Are you currently sick and tired of the culture wars and the extremists dictating what we cant say and do? Hernndez-Mats asked the crowd at the announcement event. Are you currently fed up with politicians who become authoritarians attempting to tear apart our democracy? Thats why we have been here today: to defeat Ron DeSantis and bring decency and respect back again to hawaii of Florida.

The crowd of educators holding Teachers for Crist signs, school board members, and parents chanted, Si se puede!echoing the historic United Farm Workers union proactive approach that has been translated into to the Yes, we are able to! message of Barack Obamas first presidential campaign.

Crist is staking his political future on a bet that Floridians are, indeed, sick and tired of DeSantiss constant haranguing of teachers and local school districts for providing honest instruction concerning the history of america, respecting transgender youth, embracing science, and following public-health mandates through the coronavirus pandemic. The incumbent, who’s hoping that his culture-warrior stance can make him the decision of Republicans as their 2024 presidential nominee, has proposed to resolve the teacher shortage by rewriting the guidelines in order that people without education degrees can teach in public areas schools. He’s got also championed legislation to ban the teaching of critical race theory and recently signed a law that prohibits public schools from providing instruction about sexual orientation or gender identity.

Crist is ready to rebel, as is Hernndez-Mats, a 42-year-old parent of two public-school students and the daughter of immigrants from Honduras. Like other leaders of teachers unions in hawaii and nationally, Hernndez-Mats has been an ardent critic of DeSantis, declaring, Im appalled when I see our current governor bully students, attack teachers, and use schools as a battleground for their own personal political agenda. She actually is also a practiced campaigner. Though she’s never held public office, she’s for the higher part of ten years been a top-elected leader of her union, which serves a lot more than 30,000 employees in the Miami-Dade County School System. And she’s emerged as a respected figure in local, state, and national political circles due to the leadership she taken to fights such as a successful 2018 referendum campaign to improve purchase teachers and improve school safety.

While Republicans often turn to business leaders to recruit candidates for high office, Democrats only rarely turn to union leaders. Thats a blunder because union leaders, by the type of these work, develop organizing and communications skills that may translate to partisan election campaigns. Which is particularly true with Hernndez-Mats, who gets high marks from AFT National President Randi Weingarten, an associate of the Democratic National Committee and a savvy political counselor to presidents and presidential contenders.

Today, hawaii of Florida gains an applicant for lieutenant governor whose passion for and dedication to children, families and communities are unmatched, said Weingarten, a longtime observer of Florida politics who relishes the stark contrast between a Republican ticket led by the teacher-bashing governor and a Democratic ticket that has a teacher because the nominee for lieutenant governor. The contrast couldnt become more clear, said Weingarten. DeSantis really wants to fight culture wars and politicize schools. While [Hernndez-Mats] really wants to make certain teachers have the support and resources to spotlight #WhatKidsNeed.

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