Tuesday, March 7th, is the start of Florida’s 2023 Legislative Session, during which Gov. DeSantis has promised to propose bills that will limit the fundamental freedoms of the Florida’s students, teachers, education staff professionals, and higher education faculty. In response, we are asking all Florida Education Association (FEA) and United Faculty of Florida (UFF) members to participate in a statewide “Public Education Day of Action” to show support for educators and the future of education in our state.
In support of the “Public Education Day of Action,” FEA and UFF are asking our allies and colleagues across Florida and around the country to participate in “The 3-7 Challenge” to protect our freedoms to learn, to teach, to read, for students to choose the classes they want to take, and for anyone to speak up without fear of reprisal in Florida’s public education system, kindergarten through graduate school.
What is “The 3-7 Challenge”?
To complete “The 3-7 Challenge,” supporters of Florida’s public education system are asked to make 3 phone calls and send 7 emails to Florida’s elected officials on March 7th. These officials include Gov. DeSantis, the Senate President, the House Speaker, members of the Florida Board of Governors (which oversees our state universities), the Florida State Board of Education, and various legislative committees. You can find the full list of contact information here.
If you would like assistance with formulating your thoughts on our issues, feel free to refer to the provided talking points. Whether you use the talking points or not, it is important that you speak from the heart and express your ideas in an original fashion, rather than using a template.
Through this challenge, we are hoping to drive tens of thousands of contacts to Florida’s elected leaders in one day, all in service of protecting Florida’s world-class public education system!
What should you do once you’ve completed the challenge?
After you’ve made your calls and sent your emails, you can—
1. Post to social media that you’ve completed the challenge using the hashtag #3-7Challenge. Feel free to tag @FloridaEA and @UnitedFacultyFL to show your support for Pre-K-12 and higher education in our state.
2. Ask your colleagues, friends, and family members to complete the challenge as well.
What else can I or my allies do to support for the fight in Florida?
FEA and UFF are asking community groups, professional organizations, allied unions, or any other groups to write and publish statements in support public education. If you or a group you are associated with write such a statement, please send it to [email protected].
3-7 Challenge Talking Points
- Protect tenure: Faculty must have the right to research, teach, and work free from fear of retaliation from those in positions of political authority. Tenure is not a job for life, but it does protect against political influence in Florida’s college and university classrooms. Without the full protections of tenure, faculty will seek employment elsewhere, and billions of dollars in research funds will go to competing states that still respect the necessity of free inquiry and expression.
- Preserve academic freedom: Academic freedom is vital to the success of any higher education institution. It protects the research, teaching, and service of faculty across the political spectrum, not just for those who agree with the political leaders currently in office. Politicians have no right to ban subjects or speech in Florida’s colleges and universities.
- Promote shared governance: Successful universities and colleges rely on a system of shared governance, where faculty have control of curricular decisions in their areas of expertise, while administrators work on administrative issues. When we break down shared governance and treat higher education institutions like businesses, we harm the students who deserve a high-quality degree program that focuses on academics, instead of politics, first. Students are not products; education is not a line item on financial report; shared governance insures a better higher education system for all.
- Protect DEI: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion programs provide increased student access to Florida’s college and universities. First generation students, women, minorities, veterans, students with disabilities—all benefit from DEI scholarships, programs, and initiatives that ensure all Floridians can seek and complete degrees in our world-class higher education system. If we protect DEI, we protect a free and fair future for all Floridians.
- Preserve constitutional rights: Florida’s college and university students have the right to think, feel, believe, read, teach, and research as they see fit, and no politician has the moral, ethical, or legal right to infringe upon these freedoms. Stop big government intrusion by allowing Florida’s students, faculty, and staff to exercise their constitutional rights to determine which ideas they agree or disagree with on their own terms. Preserve freedom; stop banning speech and subjects.
3-7 Challenge Contact Info
- Governor Ron DeSantis: Email link, (850) 717-9337
- Office of the Board of Governors (overseeing the State University System): Email link, (850) 245-0466
- Chancellor of the State University System, Ray Rodrigues: [email protected], (850) 245-0466
- Florida Commissioner of Education, Manny Diaz: [email protected], (850) 245-0505
- Florida Senate President, Kathleen Passidomo: Email link (choose “Email this Office” option), (850) 487-5229
- Senate Education Postsecondary Committee:
- Senate Pre-K-12 Education Committee: