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Crist vetoes teacher tenure bill

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Gov. Charlie Crist has vetoed a bill making it easier to fire Florida teachers and link their pay to student test scores.

Crist's rejection Thursday of the measure (SB 6) is a slap at his fellow Republicans in the Legislature and former Gov. Jeb Bush, who had pushed the bill. It had generated protests by teachers and parents across the state and had scant public support.

It was considered the most far-reaching legislation of its kind nationally.

The bill would have eliminated tenure for new teachers. It also called for evaluations based at least half on testing gains for use in determining merit pay raises and recertification.

Some see the veto as a sign that Crist will drop out of the GOP primary for the U.S. Senate and run as an independent.

Manatee School Board member Barbara Harvey was overjoyed when she heard the news.

"I know this was the right thing to do and now we can all be involved in tailoring a bill that will address the needs of all of our children," she said.

“That’s what we were hoping for,” said Pat Barber, president of the Manatee County Education Association, the local teacher’s union. ”We appreciate the governor stepping up. I definitely hope in the future people who are trained to educate students will be involved in any kind of reform that the Legislature is interested in making.”

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