Florida Tea Party Network Wants Rick Scott to Quit Race to the Top

From Kenric Ward of Sunshine State News:

Citing the Florida Constitution, a statewide tea party group is calling on Gov. Rick Scott to bow out of the “Race to the Top” competition for federal education funding.

“This grant not only costs Florida taxpayers more in the long-term, it will remove quality control from the legislative process, and it goes against the Florida state Constitution,” Tea Party Network Chairwoman Patricia Sullivan stated in a letter to Scott.

“It will drive up the cost of child care and Pre-K, forcing many private establishments to close, thus reducing availability for all Florida families. With the new standards in place, and the private facilities terminated, the state will then be compelled to fill the higher-priced void, all on the backs of the taxpayers.

“No less significantly, it will allow a regulatory agency to have control over family child-care, nannies, etc. with the power to circumvent the legislative process and therefore have no oversight,” Sullivan stated.

Section 4 of the state Constitution stipulates that school boards “shall operate, control and supervise all free public schools within the school district and determine the rate of school district taxes within the limits prescribed herein.”

The Tea Party Network, a consortium of 70 tea-party organizations statewide, argues that “for states to regain control of education and bring it back to the local level, they must stop taking federal money and the strings that come with the money.”

Scott’s office was not immediately available for comment.

I need to give a special thanks to the Tea Party Networks director of legislative affairs, Henry Kelley for the heads up.

Scott and his republican allies in the legislature aren’t used to opposition from their base. This is quite significant in that its based on interpretation of the state’s constitution. In addition, it shows the tea party’s opposition to the legislature usurping local school board control.


About Bob Sikes

A long time ago and a planet far, far away I was an athletic trainer for the New York Mets. I was blessed to be part of the now legendary 1986 World Series Championship. My late father told me that I'd one day be thankful I had that degree in teaching from Florida State University. He was right and I became twice blesses to become a teacher in the late 1990's. After dabbling with writing about the Mets and then politics, I settled on education.
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6 Responses to Florida Tea Party Network Wants Rick Scott to Quit Race to the Top

  1. stlgretchen says:

    We don’t have RTTT here (we didn’t get the money directly) in Missouri, but do we have the mandates nonetheless. We have a $9 Million Federal grant for trigger options and common core standards. I’ve written how Alabama Legislators are pushing back and am delighted to see this network in Florida finally stepping up as well.
    Good luck. Still pushing here. I am astounded that the overwhelmingly Republican legislature here LOVES Arne Duncan’s blueprint for education. And if you question their reasoning, you are told “you don’t want to help inner-city children”. Yep. That’s it.
    This is an interesting development in Florida!

    • Bob Sikes says:

      stlgretchen: Thanks for your comment. I’ve seen your blog before and know you do excellent work. You’ll be seeing more from Florida’s Tea Party Network specifoc to ed policy. Its important to note that our state’s families have experienced Jeb Bush’s test regime for over a decade and they dont particularly care for it. During the spring 2010 run-up to the veto of SB6, one poll of republican voters showed them being against the ed reform bill by 3-1.

    • Diane Kepus says:

      Gretchen – it is not that Republican Legislature love RTTT, it is that they have no idea what it is! Someone, not sure who does what, but they are appointing people who know nothing about Education to our various Education Committees and making legislation.

      Never forget it was Charlie Crist and former Commissioner of Education Eric Smith who actually put the pen to this socialistic idea of education. It includes Common Core Standards for everyone and they are not raising the standards but lowering them. The whole idea is best looked at from a statement made by Mary Ellen Elia, superintendent of Hillsborough County, FL schools at a Education seminar sponsored by Jeb Bush and his “elete” “Foundation for Excellence in Education”, “we are teaching the children by “inspiration” which takes the place of memorization”.

      Do they ask teachers what they think of these programs before accepting them? TheyEExample:

  2. Sandra says:

    Thank you Bob for this information. I took a lot of heat from TEA Party members during the legislative session that considered SB736, a bill that was needed to obtain RT3 funding. One member was stuck on the word “accountability” and “truth” when it comes to merit pay. Another was stuck on the union position, so why should TEA care. The reality is that Governor Scott’s education policies are driven by the Jeb Bush Foundation and it’s unlikely he has the political will or capital to break with the political establishment. “Better late than never” does not give me any consolation; much time, money, and resources have already been unnecessarily wasted and diverted. If only, the discussion at the time had been robust and more analytical. Ideology should not drive this conversation; these initiatives are rejected across the spectrum by parents, community members, and taxpayers. I applaud Senator Dockery for her persistence on that issue. Her discussion with Senator Wise remains on my blog.

    The issue has always been the same: Do we need these initiatives and how much will the cost be at all levels?
    Who pays? Who benefits?

    • Bob Sikes says:

      Thank you, Sandra. While I dont mind saying I’m a Tea Party Republican, their ranks arent devoid of its own kooks. For the most part, the group is driven by grown-ups who have sober ideas about public policy. Florida’s Tea Party Network don’t seem to care for the Scott-Bush ed agenda as they see public schools as a valued institution that should be supported and not demogogued.

  3. Diane Kepus says:

    Actually what would be good for Florida would be for us to chuck the “common core standards” RT3 and all the socialistic curriculum’s being brought into our state because school district’s like to state they have “International” offerings for their students. They do not tell you how much these program cost the taxpayers. Education has become a big deal for the Tea party groups as a great deal of research has been done by myself and others about the lack of real interest to the true Education of our children. We are graduating children and have been for the last 10 years who cannot read in masses. As bad as it is, the FCAT scores say it all! Whose fault is that? The teachers? I do not think so! I think a large part of the problem is unnecessary redundant reports and other issues that limit the teachers real face to face teaching time with the students and changing the standards every time you turn around is certainly not helping. Change your school boards – they also become politicians and should be held to term limits.

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