Quarter of Miami-Dade teachers absent in protest

MIAMI (AP) - A quarter of teachers at Miami-Dade County Public Schools are absent from classes, an apparent protest of a proposed law that would make it easier to fire them.

UPDATE, MON 1:45 PM: John Schuster, a spokesman for the district, says the picture Monday is spotty. Teachers showed up as usual at some schools, but others had more absent than in attendance.

At Charles Hadley Elementary School, for example, 48 of 80 educators did not show up.

Schuster says the district is using substitutes to keep the schools open.

District officials prepared themselves after rumors began circulating that teachers planned to call in sick or take a vacation day to protest a bill the Legislature passed last week.

It would abolish tenure for new teachers and establish a merit pay system for teachers and administrators.

Previously: Miami-Dade schools are bracing for a potential rash of teacher absences in protest of a proposed law that would make it easier to fire them.

No union is supporting the action, but rumors began circulating that educators were going to call in sick or take vacation to oppose a measure passed by the Legislature. It would strip new educators of tenure and tie their pay to student performance.

We're being told, though, teachers in Palm Beach County will still show up to class, but there's a lot of chatter on their Facebook page showing they may come into school wearing black. Teachers could be fired if they don't show up to work.

There are some Miami-Dade teachers that are planning not be at work as part of a possible teachers skip day. Miami-Dade has made contingency plans and is encouraging parents to send their children.

Less than five percent of Miami's 21,000 teachers had scheduled vacation Monday. However, that doesn't account for the possibility of more calling in sick.

The education bill sits before Gov. Charlie Crist after passing the House and Senate.

Crist says he's been overwhelmed by voters urging a veto.

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