Tallahassee’s recent devastating attacks on public schools and the teaching profession explained

Before I get going I think it is worth mentioning again that the republican party has been in complete control of Florida’s state government for over twenty years.  

It is hard to keep track of all the ways Tallahassee has attacked public schools just this year alone, I have attempted to list their biggest hits (sic).

Now the republican’s woeful under funding of education, which has seen them increase discretionary spending by only forty-seven cents has been repeatedly talked about and that right there should be disqualifying for them to continue in a leadership role but the truth is it is just the tip of the iceberg.
Perhaps their signature accomplishment this year was to kneecap teacher unions, calling for the decertification of unions that had less than fifty percent membership. Now you might say that’s a good thing, but the legislature exempted police, fire and prison guard unions, or you know the ones that usually support republican candidates.  
The bill, HB 7055 was also passed at the last possible second and is considered a train bill because it has numerous nominally related subjects which technically violates the state constitution if you care about those things. The republicans with the class size amendment, the proliferation of charter schools and inadequately funding our schools often show they don’t care about the state constitution or the will of the people.
One of the things stripped from the bill at the last second was a proposal to prevent unethical profiteering from charter schools construction. Now let that sink in.
Next they gave a gift to private schools and that is students that attend them can now do dual enrollment for free. Now the state isn’t paying for it, kneecapping higher education’s tight budgets but they also have required public schools to continue to pay for dual enrollment.  

This bill is probably designed to funnel more kids away from public schools as was the raising and changing what qualifies as a concordant score for the algebra I end of the year test that is required for graduation.  Not only do students that take vouchers and/or go to private schools not have to take any high stakes test but the changing of the concordant scores is projected to cause thousands state wide not to graduate with a high school diploma effecting mostly poor and minority children.
I also don’t think it can be said enough that private schools that take vouchers have diverted billions away from public schools, they don’t have to have a recognized curriculum, and their teachers don’t have to be certified, have degrees and can even be felons.
All this is going on while the state makes it harder for teachers to get certified. The tests are now more expensive and harder to pass than ever. Why do public school teachers have to jump through such expensive hoops while teachers at vouchers schools just have to show up?
The man pushing all these measures the hardest is republican speaker of the house Richard “Dick” Corcoran, emphasis mine.  Mr. Corcoran’s wife Anne is a charter school magnet.  They used to say politicians could get away with anything unless they were caught with a live boy or a dead girl, well in Florida we can’t even approach that standard as Corcoran joins a long list of legislatures who are benefiting from public school harming and pro charter school legislation.
How charter schools are still even a thing is unbelievable to me seeing how over 330 have taken public money and closed leaving families and communities in a lurch. 330!!!!!
Corcoran isn’t the only politician who has conducted shady business to enrich somebody close to them. Jacksonville’s Jason Fischer snuck in two million tax payer dollars for the KIPP school in Jacksonville which is mega republican donor Gary Chartrand’s school. Um, even if you are a fan of charter schools do you think a rich donor should get millions extra for campaign contributions? Ugh.
Then there are the old standbys like Florida is one of the worst states when it comes to per pupil spending and its teachers are when you factor in cost of living the lowest paid in the nation.
Friends, what I want you to remember is most of above is from this year alone, while the assault on public education and the teaching profession has been going on for over twenty years.  
Shady behavior that rewards them and their donors, unfair, shortsighted and downright cruel bills, a history of attacking public schools and public school teachers, this is the legacy of the republicans in Tallahassee have and it is past time we said enough is enough.

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