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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Florida's republican party uses threats and intimidation in voucher debate

For 13 years opponents of vouchers didn't fight back and then only finally did so after an unprecedented expansion that was passed in the last day of the legislative session, when it was folded into a more popular bill. In response Tampa millionaire John Kirtley has threatened to spend millions of dollars in school board races to defeat members who may have concerns about vouchers and Rick Hartley the chair of the republican party in Jacksonville has called for a resolution for vouchers with the Duval County school board so members can go on the record  because," will help us get rid of some of the sitting members.”  These are just a few examples from throughout the state.

They make no attempt to address the legitimate concerns about accountability, the first amendment, expanding vouchers to the middle class, a loss of resources to public schools and a whole host of issues. They just say, if you dare question vouchers then we will work to get rid of you.

I submit if they really cared about the states children not only would they address the issues above but answer the concerns of millions of public school parents about high stakes resting, the school grading system and a lack of resources but they aren't. Instead they just advocate for vouchers, which obliterate the first amendment, resist accountability and take hundreds of millions of dollars out of the state coffers and our public schools.

We should be having a substantive debate about vouchers and their place in our education system but instead the Republican Party would rather engage in threats and intimidation to get their way.

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