Jacksonville Senator Steve Wise was unsuccessful in getting a cut in school board member pay during the January 2009 session. Wise didn’t give up there and, in fact, went for the throat. Two years later his SB7234 sought to end school board salaries all together. I blogged on the issue here and here.
In one of those blog posts I quoted Florida Times-Union columnist Ron Littlepage who agreed with Wise. My argument had been that Wise’s bill would effectively end checks and balances in our schools. I wonder if Littlepage has changed his mind this morning after yesterday’s disturbing speech from Education Commissioner Gerard Robinson in which he essentially told Florida school board members that they will do as they are told.
They can express their opinion,” he said. “But let’s also remember the local school board’s obligation is to implement the laws approved by the Florida Legislature; to implement the regulations approved by the state board.”
Robinson’s gaffe unmasks the arrogance and hubris of the education reform movement. Unless he distances himself from Robinson’s comments, Jeb Bush will be associated with them as well. But that phony nonsense that came out of Tallahassee about wanting flexibility for school districts has been shattered forever. Even the scorecards are easier to read now: Local school boards and Florida’s children are on one team; Jeb Bush, his legislative allies and Pearson on the other.
Worse for Bush and his merry band, its clear to Floridians that they are advocating more for tests than they are Florida’s children. Perhaps their collective silence on the issue shows that respublican legislators – who unlike the Bushies have to actually face voters - have noticed the wind has changed direction.
A person who was there told me last night, Robinson’s five minutes in front school board members were sureal and that he “convinced many in that room that he was never going to be for them or students.”
Indeed. And another shoe will drop soon.