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Sunday, September 28, 2014

Florida's poor education leadership has failed us.

When talking about problems in education we often hear about over testing and a lack of resources but another big problem Florida has is lack of quality leadership.  Under Scott there have been 4 different education commissioners six if you count Pam Stewart's two intern stints. Robinson his first appointee resigned after backlash about constant changes to the grading system. Bennett his second resigned to defend himself against ethics violations in Indiana where he recently agreed to pay a 5,000 dollar fine. Then Stewart the current one has somehow managed to keep her job despite saying Common Core wouldn't cost any extra money, its costing hundreds of millions more, the Value Added teacher evaluation mess which saw some teachers evaluated on students they never taught and spending five million dollars to field test Florida's next tests to Utah, perhaps the least similar to Florida state in he union.

Then lets consider Scott’s appointees to the state board of education which came up with both race based goals and who rubber stamp, often over districts objections, everything to do with charter schools. There is Gary Chartrand the chair a grocer who brought several charter schools to Jacksonville, Marva Johnson a cable TV executive, Andy Tuck an evolution denier and orange grower and Rebecca Fishman Lipsey who spent two years in the classroom, in New York and was a Teach for America executive before becoming a consultant. Not one true educator in the bunch. Can you imagine running a police department or hospital without police or doctors? Well with these people in charge of education that is about the equivalent.

And then there is Rick Scott himself. He has endorsed common core despite the fact it does absolutely nothing to address poverty and then thinks just because we are calling it Florida Standards nobody will notice. He has dramatically increased the rate of privatization through charter schools and vouchers which have no evidence saying they perform better than public schools and among other things he stripped teachers of work protections and instituted a merit pay system (SB 736) which might sound great to some but has never worked in practice and then failed to fund it.

Public education in Florida gets a bad rap but the truth is it is our leadership that has failed us.

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