Mark Lane at Flablog notes Gov. Jeb Bush's fourth iteration of his 'devious plan' to gut the clearly expressed will of the Florida electorate. We voted for smaller class sizes, but Jeb, like all Bushes, thinks that the way to power is to always cut, never raise, taxes and to hell with education.
See Devious Plan Ver. 4.0 for a summary and links to the lurid details.
Note that so far, none of Jeb's plans have worked. Voters want the smaller classes. They'd even pay for it.
He just doesn't get it.
Florida voters also voted for a bullet train, and then reppealed it once they came to their senses. Florida voters vote for things that sound good without a thought as to how to fund them.
To call Jeb devious is to grossly distort what issues are really involved. Florida’s teachers’ unions are corrupt and devious, a fact that became hidiously obvious with McBride’s campaign. Until we Floridians have a system that holds incompetent teachers and administrators accountable for their portion of the blame, we won’t be able to move forward. Giving the teachers union an excuse to swell its ranks at a time when the FCAT and vouchers are finally forcing improvements is a bad, bad move. Slowly but surely, Jeb’s plans have been showing results, now is not the time to roll things back.
I fail to see how his #1 approach is devious, given that you claim Floridians are willing to pay. If that were true why is it devious to package it with a tax?
Just more whiney Bush bashing, not real analysis of Florida’s education crisis. I didn’t hear anybody complaining he ignored a popular mandate to build the bullet train, but now that Bush bashers can exploit children for their cause they’re all over it. Demonizing your opposition is a losing form of propaganda.
The train case isn’t like the schools case. Among the most obvious differences: the bullet train had shallow support, this has deep support. The bullet train was a bad idea and died a largely unlamented death; this is a good idea which is why it has proved so tough to kill. The campaign to undo the bullet train was based on facts pertinent to the decision which is why it won; at least versions 1-3 of what Bush himself was caught admitting was a plan to trick the public (and I’d argue 4 as well) are based on attempts to distract from the issue of educational quality. Read the linked articles at Flablog.
The schools here are teaching kids in trailers. Class sizes are very large. Bigger starting salaries won’t address that. And, whoops, down here the starting salaries are already almost what is being proposed — the bump makes a difference in the parts of the state that tend to have less crowding too. So it’s likely a net resource transfer, and surely a proportionate resource transfer, AWAY from where the crowding is.
At last in South Florida, the problems with the teachers union — and they do have a pension fund corruption problem — pales in the face of the corruption and incompetence of the school administration. And the local School Board has not, historically, been too great either, although a couple of the worst offenders have retired or not been re-elected.
Unlike his brother, Jeb is not stupid. But he’s no friend of education and indeed is downright bad for poor kids generally (cf. cutting their health benefits). In the long run that is not good for the state.
Bricklayer, I’m interested in your point of view. Could you point us to what you would consider a good analysis of Florida’s education crisis, if you are aware of one? Thanks…
To say he is no friend of education is imprecise: he is no friend of the present system in Florida. I don’t think Jeb sees schools as a place to cut spending. He just doesn’t think the solution is to throw more money down a bottomless pit. He wants to establish a culture of accountability in the school system, with rewards and punishment for administrative success or failure. That takes time.
I think that Jeb is doing the right things for Florida’s education system. First and foremost is accountability in the form of the FCAT. Most of the FCAT’s detractors that I’ve encountered have never actually seen one, but nonetheless complain that teachers “teach for the test”. So what? All roads lead to Rome. The fact is the tests are basic and comprehensive things that every school child should know for their grade. Good teachers are not threatened by standardized tests.
Secondly there’s been a big jump in AP testing among minorities, which is great for morale if nothing else.
Third, charter/voucher schools have put tremendous pressures on public schools and teachers to perform and clean house. You work at, and I study at a private school. I don’t see why choice should be confined to higher education. Clearly, there is productive competition between us, UF, FSU, and the other law schools to produce talented students. Should we turn over all our elementary schools to private providers?
At a deeper level, its my feeling that the senior citizens that make up a huge portion of Florida’s population really don’t care about schools. They’d rather ensure the medicade payment that will provide them with the drug that extends their miserable lives another week than provide a book to a minority child in Dade county schools. Many of them don’t view Florida as their “home”, rather just a place to die. Florida’s transient population also precludes a public mentality in school investment. The trailer classrooms pop up in wealthy areas just as poor. Nobody cares. There is no civic pride/shame in a school building here for some reason. Put another way, actions speak louder than words, and the amendment was all talk.
To the person asking about Florida’s bottom ranked school system, I know of no specific comprehensive discussion of the subject. I would suggest you google keywords like FCAT, vouchers, charter schools, teachers union along with Florida and you should be able to find discussion of the issues.