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Florida Nurses Association Endorses Gelber for Attorney General
Sep 25, 2010
Republican Senator Villalobos Endorses Gelber for Attorney General
Sep 24, 2010
Florida Professional Firefighters Endorse Gelber for Attorney General
Sep 21, 2010
Florida Alliance for Retired Americans Endorses Gelber for Attorney General
Sep 20, 2010
Florida PBA Endorses Gelber for Attorney General
Sep 10, 2010
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Thanks Doesn't Seem Sufficient
Nov 4, 2010
ICYMI: Karl Rove's RSLC Attempts to Hijack Elections from Voters
Oct 26, 2010
Release: New Ad Highlights Consensus from Florida Newspapers: Gelber is Clearly Better Qualified
Oct 25, 2010
Release: Bondi Turns to National Special Interests to Fuel Her Campaign
Oct 25, 2010
Statement: Gelber Comments on Sentencing of Sarasota Ponzi Schemer Arthur Nadel
Oct 22, 2010
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Legislature's redistricting handiwork destined for courts
Jan 16, 2012
Bill Nelson's Survival Strategy
Jan 11, 2012
Dan Gelber on exceptionalism and the old Marco Rubio
Sep 6, 2011
Who will take on Rick Scott? Charlie Crist? Alex Sink? Jeremy Ring? Rod Smith? Dan Gelber?
Jun 14, 2011
Gelber pining for Jeb Bush
May 31, 2011
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The Numbers Game
Jul 28, 2008
The Lakeland Ledger
Florida has long ranked at or near the bottom nationally when it comes to high school graduation rates. That's nothing to be proud of - it's simply shameful.
So one would hardly be surprised to find that the educrats in Tallahassee are fudging the numbers to make the graduation rate look better.
According to the Department of Education, Florida has a 72.4 percent graduation rate. The problem is that most national studies put Florida's rate considerably lower. Education Week magazine ranked it at just over 60 percent in 2004-2005 - 44th out of the 50 states. Yet, that same year, Florida insisted the rate was 71.9 percent.
A new study from the LeRoy Collins Institute, at Florida State University, says the state's methodology for calculating graduation rates is difficult to fathom. "We know that Florida's definition of graduation contributes to these differences, but it is not possible to analyze the exact impact."
That's the idea: State officials know that if Floridians can feel good about the numbers, it doesn't really matter if the numbers are right or not.
DEAD LAST IS NO SURPRISE
Here's another shameful number, and one not subject to fudging from Tallahassee. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Florida ranks 50th out of the 50 states in education spending per $1,000 in income.
That's dead last. And no surprise. Our politicians have been hacking away at education budgets even as they promote tax cuts on top of tax cuts. Having hit rock bottom, one would think there is no way to go but up. But one would be wrong.
On the ballot this fall will be Amendment 5. It would eliminate all school-based property tax. It gives instructions to the Legislature to try to plug the $10 billion hole in education budgets that the amendment's passage would create.
"This proposal takes the school property tax off your local property bill and commands the Legislature to make it up with Tallahassee-based taxes or revenue," says House minority leader Dan Gelber, D-Miami. "It pits taxpayers in desperate need of relief, against public schools in desperate need of resources. So the real question is, do you trust the Legislature to figure this one out? Does anyone really believe anymore that public education will be held harmless?"
What's happening to public education in Florida, from abysmal graduation rates to diminishing funding, is a disgrace. It bespeaks a failure of leadership in the governor's mansion and the Florida Legislature.
Ultimately, it is Florida voters who must shoulder responsibility. We elected politicians who promised us lower taxes, and we are getting exactly what we bargained for.