Committee chairman John Thrasher, R-St. Augustine, backed up by Senate Majority Leader Andy Gardiner and Senate President-designate Don Gaetz, refused to grant the pair the option of voting solely against the “Parent Empowerment” measure, which they both oppose. After the meeting adjourned, Rich said it was the first time all session a bill was not allowed to be removed from the list.
Near the end of the meeting, Lynn repeatedly tried to ask Thrasher to allow her to vote no on the bill. An increasingly angry Thrasher finally cut Lynn off and, speaking over her, ordered the vote on the entire package, which passed by an unusual 4-3 vote, setting the “special order” calendar for Thursday. Lynn, Rich and Sen. Chris Smith, D-Fort Lauderdale, rejected the entire list rather than sign off on the parent trigger bill.
Lynn called the block vote a “political maneuver” that was “inappropriate and incorrect.” But Gardiner, R-Orlando, chimed in, reminding Lynn that it was a procedural maneuver on the part of a bipartisan coalition led by Rich and Sen. Jack Latvala, R-St. Petersburg, that kept the measure from being withdrawn from a committee and sent to the Senate floor and instead required a special – and very rare – Saturday morning budget meeting to move the bill along. (Thrasher and Gardiner are an odd coalition, considering they are locked in a fight over the 2014-2016 Senate presidency.) Gaetz, R-Niceville, agreed, accusing the bipartisan group of an “effort to stymie the process so the bill could not get to the floor.” Gaetz is a co-sponsor of the bill.
What is really going on here? Has anyone questioned the involvement of Jeb Bush and his Foundations in regard to the passage of this bill? Or any Education bill in Florida? Do not forget Sen. Simmons R- Orlando, made a point of announcing his recent conversations with Bush. When Sen. David Simmons needed his colleagues' support on the education budget last week, he dropped a powerful name on the Senate floor. "I had a conversation last week with former Gov. Jeb Bush in which we discussed this and his support of it," Simmons said of the provision to spend $119 million on reading programs at low-income schools. (Just exactly what determines a “low-income school?)
Why is Senator Simmons communicating with Jeb Bush about Florida's education - he is not chair of that committee?
As far as I am concerned, the Bush name comes up more than it should! Do the Florida legislators not remember JEB BUSH IS NO LONGER THE GOVERNOR OF FLORIDA AND HE AND THE NCLB ARE THE REASON FLORIDA HAS BEEN FLAT-LINED IN EDUCATION FOR THE LAST 12 YEARS! Why is the former governor still playing a significant role in shaping state education policy and additionally, why are the rest of our legislators ALLOWING it?
This session, Bush and his nonprofit organization, the Foundation for Florida's Future, have helped to fast-track a stream of legislation that could reset the education equation in Florida. The bills, moving steadily through both the House and Senate, could gradually shift the financial and competitive advantage away from traditional public schools to private schools and charter schools, which are often managed by for-profit companies. Other proposals push virtual-learning initiatives.
The foundation says it supports high standards and accountability for all schools: public, charter, private and virtual included. If this is really true, then why did Bush and his Foundations support Race To The Top (RTTT) and the new Common Core Standards (CCS) being implemented into the Florida schools? FOR THE MONEY FROM ARNE DUNCAN AND OBAMA AND THEN THE CONTROL OF THE CHARTER SCHOOL ISSUES BY HIS FOUNDATIONS????
The supporters of this legislation say the efforts will lead to dramatic improvements in student achievement! Really? Where is your proof? This is propaganda and supposition on their part! "This will make the Sunshine State a national leader in education reform." How is this possible when Florida continues to put "garbage in - garbage out?" This is not the fault of the teachers - this is the fault of the curriculum and textbooks they are given to work with! Legislators -
- Continue to change the rules of the game
- Blame teachers for not playing the game right and they haven't given them all the rules
- Placing all this control in the hands of those who will make financial gain through our children
- Who have financial interest in Charter schools voting on related legislation
- Refusing to listen to those who know what FL needs in relation to education
- Continually using the words "low-income" schools - what are they using to determine which schools fall into that category?
- It is time to let educators take care of the education of our children rather than legislators who know nothing about education but $$.$$
Critics, on the other hand, see targeted strikes meant to chip away at Florida's traditional public schools by diverting more tax dollars to private corporations through voucher programs and charter schools.
This bill and the House companion H1191, is a cash cow for for-profit charter schools and private management companies. The “parent trigger” measure will also make hay for Gov. Jeb Bush’s non-profit Foundation for Florida’s Future and probably will include his Foundation for Excellence in Education.
Bush is backing the bill, pushed by the LosAngeles based Parent Revolution and education reformer Michelle Rhee and fiercely opposed by teachers’ unions and a Florida coalition of parent-led groups, including the PTA. This time I whole-heartedly agree with the Teacher's Unions. Do your research parents! (Parent Revolution Executive Board and Funders are among others: Walton Family Foundation; Gates Foundation; Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors) Danger! Danger!
Patricia Levesque, executive director of Bush’s Foundation, sent out a blast e-mail asking supporters to contact their senators to urge them to vote for the bill. But that wasn’t all. “Additionally, won’t you help us in our efforts to fight those opposed to parents’ rights? Please consider making a one-time contribution of $500 or $1,000 or a monthly contribution of $50 or $100 to the Foundation for Florida’s Future. With your support, we can ensure that parents have representation and more options as it relates to their child’s education,” Levesque wrote.
AND YOU THOUGHT THERE WAS NO PROFIT FOR JEB BUSH'S FOUNDATIONS!!!
Levesque sent out the missive in response to a blast message from the left-leaning Progress Florida condemning the bill. According to the exchange, the forces lining up on either side of the issue range from Koch brothers to the League of Women Voters. (Do you rEally think this is not the WORLD SERIES OF EDUCATION – LOOK AT THE PLAYERS?
“Anti-public school extremists in the Florida Senate are trying to pull a fast one, and we need your help right now,” the Progress Florida e-mail began. “So, if not parent groups, who are really behind this latest attack on public schools? According to Parents Across America “model legislation based on the Parent Trigger has been written and promoted by ALEC, the shadowy organization backed by the Koch brothers that has a radical right-wing agenda.” And who profits? Not parents and students. No, the ones who profit are unaccountable corporate charter school operators who aren’t held to the same standards as public schools and don’t necessarily have the best interests of students, parents or teachers at heart.
I continue to try and tell you that the fastest growing business in America is starting a Charter school and then grow into a Consortium! No proper over sight and the statement above is ABSOLUTELY correct.
LET ME STATE PLAINLY, I AM NOT AN EDUCATOR, DO NOT FAVOR EITHER PARTIES, NOR NORMALLY SUPPORT THE UNIONS. For far too long we have been operating under a system which has been putting the interests of adults before those of the children with years of disastrous results. This push to manipulate the Education of our Children, the most precious possession we have is not only wrong but just plain immoral!
Credit in part given to: Mary Ellen Klas in the Miami Herald