By John Meeks
As we prepare for a new governor, I want to express my fears and my concerns for the 90 percent of young Floridians who attend public schools.
Firstly, I fear that our elected and appointed leaders will misinterpret this year’s terribly close election results as a mandate to continue carrying out policies that are hostile to public schools. I do not believe that it is asking too much for our public school funding to keep pace with inflation. I do not believe that educators should have to go on food stamps or get a second job to get by.
Secondly, I am concerned that our state’s public school children will continue to be collateral damage in our leaders’ ongoing war with educators. Instead of working to settle scores or engage in union busting, Tallahassee could take a moment to see educators, parents, and all education stakeholders as partners in moving all of our students forward. Instead, I my largest concern is that we are seeing a successful effort at starving our public schools and steering favor to schools that are created to benefit those who happen to be in charge of education policy.
I urge all public education advocates to speak up and to remind Florida and the nation that we will not be passive anymore and that we will never surrender in defense of our students and our profession. We need to speak up so our students have adequate resources. We need to speak up so we can end the teacher shortage. We need to speak up so we are not saddled with categoricals and unfunded mandates that cripple our budgets. Although the elections may not have gone our way, we have not lost until we give up.