Spectrum Cable News is hosting a rather one-sided “town hall” featuring a lone pro-public education legislator, Rep. Kamia Brown, several educators and a host of “Ed Reform” Choice proponents, including politicians and Doug Tuthill, president of the voucher program, Step Up for Students. The event takes place in Sanford on Tuesday, July 24th from 6p-8p and will be televised live on Spectrum Bay News 9 and Spectrum News 13. This town hall is FREE and open to the public, but those interested in attending must RSVP.
It’s really important to at least watch and listen to this discussion. Public education, which is central to the entire event, will struggle for authentic representation here. That’s too bad, because this stacked deck scenario happens far too often.
In Focus host Allison Walker Torres will address Charter Schools, Safety, Teacher Retention, State Voucher Program, Higher Education, Superintendent Term Limits and Students with Special Needs.
In the interest of honesty, Marva Johnson, chairman of the Florida Board of Education is also vice president of state government affairs for Charter Communications/Spectrum Southeast region. Johnson also served on the Constitution Revision commission as its Education Chair, which produced the deceptive Amendment 8 which bundles school board term limits, civics curriculum (which does not belong in the constitution) and a complete stripping of local school board powers to authorize charters freeing the state to launch its plan of unmitigated corporate charter growth. The wording is so misleading, that the League of Women Voters is suing to have Amendment 8 removed from the ballot.
Town Hall participants:
- State Rep. Byron Donalds, Naples-R, Vice Chair of PreK-12 Appropriations Subcommittee and Education Committee, sponsored the Hope/Bully voucher funded by sales tax credits on automobile purchases. Based on a bullying claim students can get a $6,700 voucher to attend a private school that is not required to have any anti-bullying protocol in place, giving no guarantee for relief. Jeb Bush’s Foundation estimates there are 47,000 reports of bullying which add up to $315M in lost revenue that could go to private schools. Rep. Donalds is married to Erika Donalds, a member of the Collier County School Board, co-founder of a controversial splinter school board group, founder of two charter schools and an appointee to the Constitution Revision Commission who pushed for the contentious Amendment 8 to appear on the November 2018 ballot.
- State Rep. Kamia Brown, Ocoee-D, PreK-12 Appropriations Subcommittee and PreK-12 Quality Subcommittee
- State Senator David Simmons, Longwood-R, Education Committee
- John Legg, R, Candidate FL Senate District 10, Citrus/Hernando/Pasco, the first declared candidate of the 2022 cycle, former State Senator, District 17, Brooksville who served in the legislature for a total of 12 years as an ardent champion of the “choice” agenda including pushing passage of HB7069 a massive train bill featuring sweeping charter expansions including sharing district construction dollars to purchase and improve buildings the public pays for but may never own. Legg is also the founder of Day-Spring Academy charter school.
- 2018 Teacher of the Year Tammy Jerkins, secondary mathematics teacher from Leesburg High School in Lake County
- Mary Dunn, Volusia County Teacher, Florida High Impact Teacher
- Dr. Michele Gregoire Gill, Department of Learning Sciences and Educational Research, University of Central Florida
- Doug Tuthill, President of Step Up for Students, which oversees all of Florida’s Corporate Tax Scholarship Voucher programs which have diverted at least 1 billion dollars from Florida’s general revenue to pay for private, mostly religious school vouchers.