Home rule is the concept that those closest to the problem are best equipped to manage the problem and it used to be a tenet of Republican Politics, that is until they discovered they could make a lot of money off of education and they have been chipping away at home rule ever since. Their latest attempt includes using the Constitution Revision Commission (CRC) to diminish the power of local school boards.
The CRC is selling term limits for school board members and they believe they have a winning issue and I don’t think it is just a coincidence that Rick Scott has been pushing ads about term limits too. I live in Jacksonville which already has term limits for school board members so I know other localities could do it to without changing the constitution. That being said if this was just on its own I could probably care less but it’s not, they have paired it with a measure that would seriously diminish the authority of local school boards and cripple public education in the process.
From the Tampa Times:
But the bottom of the ballot will be filled with more than a dozen amendments that will compete for attention with more high-profile races including U.S. senator and the state’s governor. Attaining the 60 percent threshold to win approval could be an uphill climb.
That’s why backers of Amendment 8 are kicking off their formal effort to promote the three-pronged education proposal now.
Constitution Revision commissioner Erika Donalds, the Collier County School Board member who sponsored the measure, announced Monday the creation of the political committee 8 is Great. She’s joined by Indian River County School Board chairman Shawn Frost and Duval County School Board member Scott Shine in the effort.
All three have announced they will not seek reelection this fall. They each have been vocal conservative voices for education initiatives as participants in the Florida Coalition of School Board Members, a group that sprouted in opposition to the larger Florida School Boards Association’s lawsuit challenging state tax credit scholarships.
“Amendment 8 is Great for Florida’s future, and we are committed to communicating that message to all Floridians,” Donalds said in a released statement. “As school board members, we are convinced that fresh ideas and diverse opportunities for innovation are essential to creating a system of public education that works for every student. When it comes to the policy necessary to deliver that change, Amendment 8 is Great!”
Um the state wants to create new forms of public schools not responsive to school boards? WHAT THE WHAT?!? Who would they be responsive too? Would they be part of a new charter school system of which over 330 have already taken public money and failed and offer little in the way of innovation. Or would they be part of a new public private system that has practically nothing in the way of accountability.
You know there have been times I have been fed up with my school board but I would still rather have somebody I could remove or swap out every two years than some faceless entity with no accountability. The CRC is giving democracy a big middle finger in the hopes of making a few people rich and the pushers of it could care less if children are hurt in the process.
This is an attempt at a slow moving coup with the future of our public school system on the line.
Eight is not great. It is a poison bill designed to stick a knife in the heart of public education and shame on those pushing it.