Folks, tomorrow, Wednesday, March 6, 2019 at 10:30A as the Florida Senate Education Committee hears SB 7070. We must vehemently oppose SB 7070, a massive “Train Bill” that caters solely to the Koch Brothers and school “choice” lobbyists. We must reject the combining of a massive voucher expansion that will use public dollars within the Florida Education Finance Program to pay for private religious education. This is very thing that was defeated in Bush v. Holmes. Thanks to the recent DeSantis “fixes” to the Florida Supreme Court, Jeb has been cleared to proceed with dismantling public education.
Watch the Florida Channel tomorrow, Wednesday, March 6, 2019 at 10:30A as the Florida Senate Education Committee hears SB 7070. Look for Marie-Claire Leman of Common Ground and others who plan to testify against this very bad bill.
Tell the Senate Ed Committee members (below) that: SB 7070 should be broken up into individual bills that can be properly vetted and understood. Anything short of this betrays the trust of voters across Florida.
Tune into the Florida Channel tomorrow – look for Common Ground colleague Marie-Claire Leman and other fellow public education advocates a who plan to testify against this very bad bill.
Here’s the rundown on SB 7070:
- Establishes a new voucher program “Family Empowerment Scholarship/Voucher”, a super-expansion using your property tax dollars to fund tuition to private, largely religious schools.
- This is an attempt to deplete district schools of their constitutional right to funding, but will be sold by Commissioner of Education Corcoran and sponsor Sen. Manny Diaz as an increase in funding
- Tell Senate Ed Committee that you are opposed to diverting property taxes for vouchers to religious schools with no academic accountability.
2. Shifts $400M from the failed Best & Brightest into a teacher bonus program
- Abandons all hope of an honest raise in salaries for Florida teachers, whose pay ranks at a disrespectful 45th in the nation.
- A bonus is not a raise. It cannot be counted on year after year and does not impact teacher retirement dollars
3. Removes “barriers” to the Teacher Certification process
- Florida is facing an overwhelming teacher shortage, thanks in no small part to the hostile “ed reform” status quo of the past 20 years.
- Removing barriers to certification opens the doors to allowing a wide range of possibly unqualified people to teach
- Disregards the national certifications and advanced degrees many current teachers bring to the profession
4. Reduces regulations that get in the way of school construction and repairs
- Allows both charter and district schools to avoid rules related to safety and construction as long as only local ad valorem revenues are used
- Ignores the reason that public schools have long been required to be built to hurricane standards and are often the only source of shelter in a community
- Continues the political practice of giving for-profit charter school developers opportunities for greater profit while reducing costs
5. Enhance support for Community Schools, wrap-around services
- Abandons “schools of Hope” which addressed turnaround issues and provided $2,000 per student to affected schools
- Community school language reduces schools to $500 per student for these services, there appears to be no intent of funding this new Community Schools model at the level of Orange County’s successful Evans High Community School
Train bills are bad government. Break up SB 7070 into individual bills that can be properly vetted and understood. Call and write these Senators now. Tell them to vote no on SB 7070.
Senate Education Committee
- Senator Diaz; 850-487-5036; firstname.lastname@example.org
- Senator Baxley; 850-487-5012; email@example.com
- Senator Perry; 850-487-5008; firstname.lastname@example.org
- Senator Simmons; 850-487-5009; email@example.com
- Senator Stargel; 850-487-5022; firstname.lastname@example.org
- Senator Montford; 850-487-5003; email@example.com
- Senator Berman; 850-487-5031; firstname.lastname@example.org
- Senator Cruz; 850-487-5018; email@example.com