Marco Rubio’s Cynical Support for Federal School Vouchers


Marco Rubio’s role last night as deliverer of the message from what was once called the loyal opposition (Boy, does that seem outdated or what?) was  a thankless one. But in presidential politics, Rubio’s appearance could not have been more significant. Jeb Bush won’t be running for president now. Rubio doesn’t get the gig last night if Bush were still pondering a run. Bush’s curious flirtation with a Venezuelan media mogul last week to help him buy  the Miami Marlins was the first sign, but there was never any way that Bush was going to give up his role as the nation’s education policy Pope. But Rubio still had to kiss the ring.  He did last night in his support for a federal school voucher plan. Ron Matus writes in redefinED:

In what could be the most far-reaching school choice legislation in U.S. history, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., is proposing that low-income parents anywhere in the country be able to choose private schools through a federal initiative similar to the tax credit scholarship program in Florida.

“It’s not about unions. It’s not about school administrators,” Rubio told the Miami Herald for a story published Tuesday night – just after he delivered the Republican rebuttal to President Obama’s State of the Union address. “This is about parents. The only parents in America who don’t have a choice where their kids go to school are poor parents.”

In the Herald story which is this link appears in the Tampa Bay Times, Marc Cupoto has more:

Rubio also hired the husband of top Bush education wonk Pat Levesque, later appointed by Rubio to a state constitutional tax-and-budget reform commission.

Levesque is executive director of the nonprofit political group Foundation for Florida’s Future, which lobbies the Florida Legislature, and serves as CEO for the nonprofit Foundation for Excellence in Education, which weighed in on Rubio’s proposed legislation. Bush chairs both foundations.

The policies of Bush’s foundation have political risks and could have played a role in the downfall of Indiana’s schools chief, Tony Bennett, in the November elections.

Bennett soon got a new job as education commissioner in Florida, Rubio and Bush’s home state.

As a former Florida state legislator, Rubio isn’t blind to either the problems with or the opposition to Bush’s education policies. He knows as did presidential nominee Mitt Romney, that they had to go along with what Bush wanted on education otherwise they’d be subjected to endless strategically placed acerbic snark from Bush.  He’s gotten good at that over the years. Just ask Katherine Harris. Rubio’s been on the receiving end of those, too. Perhaps Levesque’s hiring ended those and served as that kiss on the ring.

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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