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Monday, February 11, 2013

What caused Rick Scott’s education change of heart?

First a little context; when running for governor, Rick Scott said he wouldn’t cut education, then when elected he promptly cut education by over a billion dollars and then followed that up with reducing teacher’s salary by 3% which enabled the state to balance its books on the backs of teachers. Some people think this money went to shore up a pension fund on the brink of collapse but nothing could be farther from the truth. You see Florida’s pension fund is one of the best around but even worse is the money went to the general fund to pay for Florida’s other expenses.

Fast forward to today and he now says he is going to have the largest education budget in Florida’s history, which is kind of like saying the world’s tallest midget came to town and politifact only rated that half true, ( but regardless it is an increase over the last few years. Furthermore he wants a good portion of that money to go to teacher raises. Sorry, paras, custodians, lunch ladies and office staff, maybe next year you will be appreciated for all your service.

This however begs the question, what has caused Rick Scott’s change of heart about education?

Some might cynically (and probably accurately) say this is just an attempt to buy votes. Last time he ran he spent over seventy million of his own dollars. Well friends he doesn’t have to do that this time because he can us taxpayer money to buy his votes.

Who knows he might have an epiphany, that education is important and if he wants Florida to thrive it is going to need a high quality work force and since he is a business man he realizes sometimes to make money you have to spend money too.

Then again he might have had a come to Jesus moment. Working with the long time assortment of characters that have dominated Florida’s political landscape he may have realized that he was on the wrong side of the battle. That we can’t just continue to gut and cut education while giving tax breaks to businesses; that there has to at least be the appearance of fairness.

Maybe at the end of the day the reasons are all together different. I can’t say, I’m not in his head nor have I been invited to any education strategy meetings after all I am a teacher not a businessman. Though I can say I don’t care what his reasons are: practicality, fairness, fortune cookie, Jesus, it doesn’t matter to me one bit. All that matters is that for at least one year it might be a little easier for me to do my job and pay my bills and in Florida history shows that is about as good as it gets.

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