Altamonte Springs republican senator David Simmons is an independent sort and shown that he doesn’t always talk the party line on education. Simmons was so concerned about public school funding levels last summer that he publicly called on Rick Scott to bring a special session to restore funding. Last fall, Simmons expressed concern that the large number of charter school failures, “are costing not only a human toll but a financial one.” Simmons wandered off the reservation again today when he asked Governor Rick Scott to delay the new FCAT scoring system for a year.
Sen. David Simmons has pulled his request for a delay in implementing the state’s new FCAT scoring system from the legislative process.
Instead, he has appealed to Gov. Rick Scott to halt, for a year, a plan he fears will label many once-successful schools as poor performers.
Simmons, the chairman of the Senate’s education budget panel, had presented the request for a delay as part of House-Senate budget negotiations last week. But he said today he decided instead to take the matter to Scott on Saturday.
Scott’s office confirmed the meeting and said the governor has agreed to meet with Simmons again once the Legislature’s session ends.
Scott could, presumably, influence the process by urging the State Board of Education to revisit the decision it had previously made.
Simmons went so far as to say that the new grading system would create as many as 600 D and F schools – about 20 percent!
Meanwhile, charter school advocacy group, Parent Revolution admitted today in a press release that they know that at least 200 schools will possibly fail next year under the new system. They’re obviously plugged in with someone around here. At any rate, Simmons knows that parent trigger legislation – Florida’s Parent Empowerment Act – will subject public schools to takeovers by charter schools. Those same entities he said in October represented “money wasted” and “costing a human toll.”
He may not realize it, but Simmons has been making the strongest case yet for senators to vote NO on SB 1718 – the Parent Empowerment Act. Simmons has already recognized charter schools to be frequently flawed both fiscally and in performance. In what would certainly be massive expansion of charter schools, Simmons has pointed out why there shouldn’t be.