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Saturday, January 5, 2019

The continuing debasement of public education in Florida, Andrew Pollack edition

Andrew Pollack is one of the parents of the slain Parkland students. I know two things, I can never understand the depth of this man's pain, what happened is an absolute tragedy and I weep for him, his family, his daughter, and all the other people effected, I know that and that this man has no business being on the state board of education, which Rick Scott on his way out the door appointed him to.

Educators in Florida aren't even invited to the table to discuss let alone craft education policy. On the way out the door, Scott reappointed a businessman, and Pollacks slot would see him replace a rich grocer and Scott financial backer.

Do you ever think, maybe if we would have educators in charge of education in Florida over the last few decades maybe things like the massacre wouldn't have happened? Florida has been so caught up in bashing public schools, and teachers and privatizing the system, all on the cheap, that quite frankly I believe it's blind luck we haven't had more school shootings, more tragedies, more grieving families.

Can you imagine, if educators played a role in crafting education policy, how much things would be different. People can blame public schools for violence, or academic achievement, or whatever but the truth is, in Florida they are often at the mercy of people who want to see them fail.

Pollack wants more guns in schools, he thinks that will stop school shootings. It won't. Parkland had an armed officer but that didn't stop Cruz from going there and taking 17 lives. What would help however is what educators have been calling for but has fallen on deaf ears. More mental health and social work services, smaller classes, so teachers can more easily develop relationships and see warning signs and a system, not run on a shoe string budget where problems will invariably slip through the cracks and a return to the purpose of education which should be preparing children for adulthood instead of preparing them to pass a high stakes test. If Pollack was an educator, what the state board of education should be composed of, instead of a grieving father, he would know that.

We can all grieve with and for Pollack, but at the same time demand we do better. Our children deserve it.
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