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My promise to public education

Oct 19, 2009

By Dan


Over the weekend I was in Orlando to receive the FEA “Champion of Education” Award. It was especially gratifying because my middle child Hannah went on a “field trip” with me and I know she was proud of her Daddy. I don’t believe there is a more important battle in Florida than the fight to create a school system that is high quality. It determines the industries we attract, the opportunities we give our workers, and defines us in every way as a state. Joan and I see the challenges up close with our own kids who attend public school. The cutting of a popular program or classrooms that lack instructional material or paper products. And don’t get me started on the FCAT.

When we talk to friends who live in other states, they are in disbelief.  As the chief legal officer of the state it is the Attorney General’s job to protect Florida’s citizens from violations of our Constitution. A few years ago Floridians changed their Constitution to make a “high quality” system of public education the “paramount” duty of the state. I don’t believe the current budget of the state allows for that level of service and I will take any action necessary – including suing the legislature – to guarantee our children get the public education to which they are entitled.

That’s a promise.




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Dan, We voted for a reduced class size. I don't want to hear excuses from legislature that we have a revenue shortfall. We did not vote to reduce corporate taxes that The Bush administration, IMHO, did illegally. Yes, don't get me started about FCAT. That is supposed to help out schools with funds? All it does is tie the teacher's hand and put their curriculum on hold for months. I don't think my son ever finished any of his text books, and that has to do with the battery of tests. Why not just have an exit test — oh wait, isn't that called FINAL EXAM???



The legislature and/or the people voted in 3 unfunded mandates over the past several years: class size, bright futures, and voluntary pre-K. Class size was as direct a rejection of Bush's voucher program and high stakes testing, which summed up his education policy, as the voters could get. These unfunded mandates effectively put more stress on K-12 budgets—particularly as lottery funding has been clearly shifted from K-12 to Bright Futures. Plaintiffs just got the go ahead to sue the legislature in Colorado for education funding—what does that mean for Florida?




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