Monday, May 8, 2017

Parents who want recess say lawmakers are using kids as ‘pawns in a political game’ | Miami Herald

Parents to lawmakers: Don’t support budget bill solely for kids’ recess | Miami Herald:

Parents who want recess say lawmakers are using kids as ‘pawns in a political game’




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Passionate parents, like Kate Asturias of Miami and Angela Browning of Orlando, have been fighting for years to get guaranteed daily recess for their children and the more than 1.2 million other kids in Florida’s public elementary schools.
The two moms trekked to Tallahassee on Friday, for the countless time, hoping to see lawmakers finally make that happen. They left disappointed once again.
The favored proposal of “recess moms” and dads that unanimously passed the Senate a month ago (SB 78) wasn’t brought to the floor by House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O’Lakes, before Friday’s session deadline — despite parents’ numerous emails and phone calls urging him to take up the bill, which had the votes to pass easily.
Instead, Corcoran prolonged a conclusion to the recess proposal by lumping it — with a never-before-seen exemption parents didn’t ask for — into a 278-page education budget bill released Friday evening, three days before lawmakers will vote Monday on an annual budget package they can’t change.
Filled with disappointment and anger, parents vented their frustration in social media groups this weekend — and some now have a message for their lawmakers: Don’t vote “yes” on this bill just so Florida’s kids can be assured recess.
“This is not just about recess anymore. This bill is a mishmash of some policies that have never even been vetted before,” Browning wrote Saturday night to parents in the “Recess for All Florida Students” group on Facebook. “It’s not how the process is supposed to work. The people, and those they elected to represent them, are supposed to be involved in the process. A conforming bill dropped after 4pm on the last day of session, with no amendments permitted and an up or down vote, is no way to govern.
“We can’t expect legislators to support it based solely on their support for recess,” she said.
Asturias, of the “Recess for Miami Students” group, noted that the new recess language is seven lines out of 6,848 in the bill, and “I understand.”
“It’s so disappointing that our kids were used in this way, and the message of recess and what it stood for was used ... as political cover,” she said. Parents “feel like recess was just kind of this very nice, sweet, pure movement — it was something for the kids — and they feel like it was just used in a mean way, a nasty way, as political leverage.”
Meanwhile, Corcoran claims he “saved” the recess proposal by adding it to the budget. (Daily school recess was not part of earlier budget conference talks, as it requires no Parents to lawmakers: Don’t support budget bill solely for kids’ recess | Miami Herald:

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