“I Don’t Want It Going to the Head of the Teacher Union”: DeSantis Raises Florida Teacher Salaries by $200 Million

Governor Ron DeSantis smiling widely
Credit: DeSantis

Governor Ron DeSantis has announced a whopping $200 million increase in teacher salaries in the wake of a messy feud with The Walt Disney Company over education, but it seems that the instructors themselves are still unhappy with the state of Florida funding.

A man in a blue suit with a red tie stands superimposed on an image of disneyland featuring sleeping beauty's castle under a bright rainbow.

Credit: (EDIT ITM)

DeSantis and Disney spent the better part of last year in a nationally publicized feud that spilled into federal and state courts and involved a lot of name-calling on both sides. The battle between the far-right governor and former presidential candidate and the allegedly progressive media corporation was largely seen as an expression of America’s raging culture wars, but in the end, it was triggered by one thing: education.

The feud was kicked off when former Disney CEO Bob Chapek (who has since been replaced by Bob Iger) took a public stance against the Parental Rights in Education Act, a signature piece of legislation that Governor DeSantis had promoted as part of his public image as an “anti-woke” champion.

Related: The Feud May Be Over, but the Cronyism Remains at Desantis’ Disney Board

The bill, frequently referred to as the “Don’t Say Gay” law, was criticized for specifically “prohibiting classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity in certain grade levels or in a specified manner: and seen as an attack on LGBTQIA+ issues and representation in the state. It was also noted for the restrictions it put on teachers, who have increasingly come under attack by DeSantis himself.

Former Disney CEO Bob Chapek and Current Disney CEO Bob Iger in front of a blue background saying The Walt Disney Company

Credit: Disney

Initially, Bob Chapek did not comment on the matter, instead issuing a leaked internal memo that claimed “corporate statements do very little to change outcomes or minds,” essentially saying that nobody cared what Disney thought. Later, he claimed to shareholders that Disney had planned to work out of the public eye, saying, “We chose not to take a public position because we felt we could be more effective working behind the scenes directly with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.”

Eventually, the Disney CEO came out against “Don’t Say Gay,” tumbling the Mouse House into months of legal issues over the education bill, LGBTQIA+ issues, and his own dismissal as chief executive. Eventually, DeSantis and Disney were able to make nice, and now the Central Florida Tourism Oversight Board (formerly the Reedy Creek Improvement District) and the Walt Disney World Resort are cooperating on a vast new undertaking in the Orlando area.

Ron DeSantis speaking at a podium, with the united states flag.

Credit: DeSantis

Related: New Florida Law Signed by DeSantis Safeguards Disney World Guests From Future Scams

But education issues won’t stop haunting Ron DeSantis, even if Disney is currently staying out of things. At a news conference at the City of Hialeah Educational Academy, the governor announced a $200 million increase to teacher salaries for the upcoming fiscal year, bringing the total budget to $1.25 billion (per The Florida Phoenix).

Notably, DeSantis used the announcement to continue attacks on teacher unions, saying, “We’re raising pay in spite of those unions, not because of them, with what we’ve done in the Florida Legislature. So, keep that in mind…I don’t want it going to the head of the teacher union. I want it to go to the teacher.”

Florida has the second-worst teacher pay nationwide, beating only West Virginia.

Why do you think Florida has such educational issues? Tell us in the comments below!

About Nathan Kamal

Nathan Kamal is a Chicago-based writer and comic, who enjoys cooking, hanging out with his cat, and seeing as many movies as possible.

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