Saturday, December 17, 2016

FL Speaker’s rant against voucher lawsuit linked to national”Reform” endgame: Get parents to opt out of Public Ed, take a low-$ tax-funded debit card & pay the difference | The Edvocate Blog

FL Speaker’s rant against voucher lawsuit linked to national”Reform” endgame: Get parents to opt out of Public Ed, take a low-$ tax-funded debit card &; pay the difference | The Edvocate Blog:

FL Speaker’s rant against voucher lawsuit linked to national”Reform” endgame: Get parents to opt out of Public Ed, take a low-$ tax-funded debit card & pay the difference

By now, many know that Florida Speaker Richard Corcoran bitterly lectured newly installed house members regarding his contempt for the teachers union, calling it “downright evil.” Corcoran spent inordinate time focused on a lawsuit filed by the Florida Educators Association challenging the state’s private school voucher program. It was a miserable spectacle watching Corcoran call public school teachers “crazy,” “disgusting” and “repugnant,” just because he dislikes a two year old suit.
Why is Speaker Corcoran so angry about this lawsuit?
For starters, if the court rules in FEA’s favor, striking down Florida’s voucher program, it will be very difficult for reformers in this state to convert the current corporate tax credit scheme to the much broader next generation Choice 2.0 Education Savings Accounts (ESA). The problem is that BOTH programs rely on diverting potential tax revenues to a third party, allowing reformers to claim that the money never “technically” belonged to the state.
Currently, Florida’s voucher program allows corporations to divert their taxes to Step Up for Students, the state’s largest designated Scholarship Funding Organization (SFO). The resulting vouchers are then used primarily for private religious schools that do not have to meet any of the standards imposed by the state on public schools. Since its inception in 2001, lawmakers have expanded Florida’s voucher program so that $2.7 billion dollars once destined for state general revenue that should have funded a wide range of needs has been diverted to private schools. Keep in mind that Step Up for Students has been paid at least 3% of the gross or $81 million dollars over the years as a “fee.”
Education “reform” is all about chaos and disruption. Because it’s hard to tear down a cornerstone asset like public education, reformers rely on issuing a series of unfounded “studies” in the hopes that the press and politicians will quote their theoretical “findings” as fact. That strategy, called “moving the Overton window,” manipulates public perception with the goal of normalizing radical policy ideas like annually transferring $800 billion public tax dollars into privatizing public schools.

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