Gerard Robinson found out real fast that he wasn’t needed for policy. Someone else does that. Writes retired school administrator and current chair of Florida School Choice Parent Advisory Council, Bill Person, in the Tampa Tribune:
I found your recent editorial concerning the possibility of Hillsborough County School Superintendent MaryEllen Elia serving as our new state commissioner of education most informative and interesting (“Go local for education chief,” Aug. 7). I agree with your assessment of Elia’s ability to provide “relevant” leadership for public schools in our great state.
I wonder if it is possible for anyone to lead our Florida public school districts in a meaningful, successful manner with our current educational leadership in Tallahassee. Our governor, the leadership in the Legislature and our state Board of Education are trying hard to move public education funds into the private sector. They are truly focused on how best to “de-fund” public schools via testing and a severe lack of funding, not to mention a strong bias against public schools and public-school educators. This group of leaders presses hard for school vouchers and any means of funding education that is destined for non-public schools. If appointed, will Elia, as our new education commissioner, experience more support for public schools and public school students and parents than the last two commissioners? Without meaningful support from the governor, Legislature and the state school board, how can Elia or, in fact, anyone be successful in leading Florida public schools?
They don’t want a leader, they wanted someone to do what Robinson did: do as you’re told and tell everybody else to do as they are told, too. Defend our policies as pure and dismiss naysayers as misguided or misinformed. Tell them they just don’t know what’s best. They need choice…our choice.