Why Is the State of Florida Trying to Destroy its Own Public Schools ?
The Assault Shows No Signs of Waning
It sounds like an impossibility: the prospect of a state’s government working doggedly to destroy one of the very institutions it is charged with protecting and advancing.
Careful and deliberate consideration of legislative and executive actions over the course of the last seventeen years, however, indicate that at least two of Florida’s governmental branches are doing just that. The legislative dismantling of public education in Florida accelerated about six years ago, when the Florida legislature started enacting statutes designed to hasten the demise of Florida’s public schools, as well as the teaching profession itself. By simply ignoring political opposition and public outcry, anti-public education lawmakers have accomplished what many would have considered impossible just a decade ago.
Jeb Bush: The Granddaddy of “Accountability”
Former Florida governor Jeb Bush, who most recently made headlines on March 20, 2016 when he dropped out of the 2016 Republican presidential primary race after posting embarrassingly low numbers in the first three state primary contests, is the proud sire of “reform” and “accountability” in Florida. His so-called “A+ Plan for Education” set in motion a cavalcade of dubious education policy initiatives over the next 17 years that have driven public education in Florida into an abyss of neglect and deceptively brokered sabotage.
Education Corporatization and the Sacrificial Lamb
Public education has apparently become an issue where Democrats and Republicans seem to be more able than ever to agree. Many Democrats, such as presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, seemed to have tempered their opposition to corporately-driven “reform,” while artfully hedging quasi-promises to protect public education. Campaign contributions are powerful influencers. Corporate PR types have taken the science of disinformation to new heights, and have found that even a fatal disease might be peddled as a panacea.
“The Best Interests of the Children”
Grabbing the Moral High Ground as a Means to Discredit Opposition
It’s incredibly difficult to argue against a person extolling the supposed virtues of a proposal when they use catchphrases like, “It’s best for the kids,” or any number of similarly worded, deceitfully expressed rationales for policy. You hear politicians and corporate education “reformers” reciting the mantra often: “We’re only trying to do what’s right for the children,” or, “This is what’s in the best interests of students.” The use of such “reasoning” to justify any governmental action is manipulative in nature and should be immediately disregarded by voters. The well-worn tactic, known as seizing the moral high ground, and disallowed in formal debates, provides the person who uses it with what is almost universally acknowledged to be an unfair means to quiet the debate altogether. It places those with an opposing view in a logical predicament that is very difficult to climb out of. Florida politicians and corporate public treasury pillagers (they call themselves “reformers”) use such phrases all the time. Aside from the audacity displayed by their presumption that such claims are appropriate, the insult to the intellect of the average voter is overt. Voters should demand details from politicians and eschew slogans and catchphrases as the tripe they are.
The Blueprint for the Destruction of Public Education
There exists a politico-corporate blueprint for the disassembly of public education. It largely has its origins, as well as its single greatest market, in Florida. The Florida C-Suite has been at this game for almost two decades. Very few of them, if any, have kids in public schools. They do have very large bank accounts, and they want them to get larger. To their delight, they have discovered the malleable nature of the Florida Constitution, as well as the reality that most voters are easily hornswoggled. The result has been a disaster for public education in Florida.
Starve the Schools
Politicians and their corporate masters borrowed their foremost tactic from the War College. When you lay siege to your enemy, the first thing you do is deprive him of resources. A starving enemy cannot offer the kind of resistance that a vibrant, well-supplied one can. Tallahassee has starved Florida’s public schools of adequate funding for longer than anyone in the state has been alive. Politicians love to talk about “record-level” education funding. What they don’t talk about is how much of that funding goes straight into the pockets of education vendors peddling “reform” and “accountability” wares taxpayers without their knowledge. The actual schools have experienced a net loss in funding when the diversion of public money into private pockets is considered.
The state also puts crippling restrictions on the monies it sends to school districts. Categorical funds can only be used for certain purposes, and often leave districts flush with funds earmarked for purposes that they don’t need them for, while simultaneously broke of funds for the things they need.
Unions Are Evil and Unnecessary
Ever since Jeb Bush began his all-but-personal vendetta against teachers’ professional associations, an uninterrupted procession of politicians in Tallahassee has assaulted teachers’ unions as selfish accomplices to mediocrity. All unions have their problems. Teachers unions are no different. However, next to parents, no one cares more about students than their teachers. Certainly not politicians and corporate money junkies. Without a professional organization, teachers have zero defense against marauding charlatans who so often seek administrative positions and attempt to use their power to destroy the teachers they do not like. Without unions, teachers are effectively tossed out of the conversation about the enterprise that is necessarily centered around their profession. It makes zero sense to destroy teachers unions.
Tenure Makes for Mediocre Teachers
False. Since the legislature eliminated tenure for newly-hired teachers, the state of public education in Florida has only gotten worse. Teachers are fleeing the profession in droves, Why Is the State of Florida Trying to Destroy its Own Public Schools ? – Florida Viewpoint: