In short, the cash and electioneering from Michelle Rhee, for-profit charter schools, ed privatization PACs and the RPOF didn’t help Parent Trigger in Democrat state senate races, but may have in Republican ones.
For the opponents of parent trigger who helped defeat it last March, the expected victory’s by former representatives to the senate, John Legg and Kelli Stargel, will be grudgingly recognized as unwavering votes for the charter school takeover bill. Legg is a charter school owner, who due to lack of any ethics rules in the Florida legislature, will be allowed to vote on parent trigger even though it provides a clear benefit for a business he owns. Stargel has already demonstrated a willingness to run interference for for-profit charter schools by throwing a wrench into Polk schools desire to open its own charter schools.
A clear effort was made to elevate Key West democratic Rep. Ron Saunders to a win in Senate District 39, but was defeated by Miami Rep. Dwight Bullard, long a champion of public schools. Pro-privatization forces also got behind the candidacy of Victoria Siplin in Senate District 12, but former teacher and current state representative Geraldine Thompson was victorious. Charter school owner Mark Bernard is behind Jeff Clemens this morning by 35 votes in the Senate District 27 race.
A huge push by privatization advocates and party power brokers delivered a victory for republican Aaron Bean in his race against Rep. Mike Weinstein in the Senate District 4 race.
Still, its going to be very difficult to defeat whatever Parent Trigger bill emerges in the senate this time. Three key no votes from republicans are gone in Evelyn Lynn, Mike Fasano and Paula Dockery. But Floridians know that the school grade formula that would judge schools to be failing for triggers to happen is fatally flawed. Even though Jeb Bush has maintained his full-court press, republican legislators shoved Parent Trigger through last March believing it to be credible and accepted by Floridians on the whole. FCAT’s reputation has been destroyed, and organized opposition to testing exists from local school boards across the state. Counting noses today doesn’t really matter as the circumstances that the republican-dominated legislature will face in March is far less rosy.