The Governor offers teachers a pay raise with protection from coerced union dues.

Wall Street Journal:

ov. DeSantis announced a plan Monday to pass a Teachers’ Bill of Rights and spend an extra $200 million on teacher pay in the coming school year. The funds will bring the total the state has spent on teacher salaries to more than $3 billion from 2020 to 2024. They’ll also lift the minimum salary to more than $48,000, eighth-highest among states according to the National Education Association.

Addressing a classroom in a Jacksonville school, the Governor said the money would help ward off a teacher shortage. “The nationwide average is three vacancies for every school,” he said, while Florida has kept average openings to about half that level.

Yet the plan devotes as much attention to making sure teachers get the full benefit of the their pay raise. It proposes a policy known as paycheck protection, which blocks schools from extracting member dues on unions’ behalf. Teachers would still be free to join or decline the union, but they would get a clearer sense of what they’re paying if they do.

The change would make a difference since Florida teachers can pay as much as $700 in annual dues, according to the Orlando Sentinel. “If you want to do it, send money—that’s fine,” as Gov. DeSantis put it. But the Florida Education Association (FEA) spends millions of dollars on political causes and candidates that many teachers don’t support, such as its unsuccessful 2020 lawsuit to block school reopenings.

The Governor also wants to ensure that teachers get their raises on time. “Not every school district has raised the teacher salaries like they’re required to,” he said of his previous expansions of school budgets. It’s common for schools to leave such funds undisbursed during internal budgeting squabbles, but boosting recruitment and retention requires making the pay available fast.