Tampa Bay Times: “Time For Leaders Who Want to Improve Schools. Not Privatize Them”

The Tampa Bay Times gives Gerard Robinson a big “don’t let the door hit you on the way out.”

Robinson is a slick salesman with no Florida roots or love for public education, and he won’t be missed. On his rocky one-year watch, the credibility of standardized testing collapsed completely, marred by ever-changing standards and ridiculous mistakes in assigning school grades. His explanations and excuses were not good enough, and the commissioner of public education should not be more interested in expanding private school tuition vouchers than in improving public schools.

His resignation puts pressure on Gov. Rick Scott and the Board of Education to make a better choice this time. Florida needs a commissioner who believes in public education and in credible accountability that informs rather than punishes…..

The Times closes with, “it’s time to embrace bright, progressive leaders who want to improve it rather than privatize it.” Florida’ policy-makers obviously aren’t operating this way as evidenced by the decision of Florida Board of Education members Kathleen Shanahan and Akshay Desai to host a fundraiser for Jeb Bush’s pro-voucher foundation and the homes of one of the nation’s biggest voucher advocates.

But the Times knows what the real war is. Florida policy-makers like Bush and his operatives Shanahan and Desai want to privatize education in its entirety.  They need Florida’s test-obsessed accountability system – no matter how awful it is – to achieve that ends.  Children’s test scores are their gold standard with which they can trade, sell and promote. The more public schools they can crush with failing test scores, the more they can utilize and justify their voucher and charter school schemes. When they will be seen as exploiters of children remains to be seen.


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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