Rick Scott has not yet earned the trust of Florida public school teachers and advocates. His increase in funding last year was only a return to the level he cut the year before and his failure to admit as much continues to be a drag on his credibility. Scott’s proposal to raise teacher salaries can only been considered as a cynical political ploy unless it emerges without any legislative merit pay strings attached.
Like other republican rock star governors who were on board with Jeb Bush’s Common Core State Standards (CCSS) gambit, he was blindsided by the sudden and vigorous opposition from the RNC and conservative media giants like Michelle Malkin and Glenn Beck. It will have wide-ranging ramifications for future policy decisions – including Parent Trigger.
You can be sure that Scott is aware of the affects that implementation of CCSS will have on the state’s schools. At the Florida Council of 100’s Summit on Common Core held in February, top charter school lobbyist Jim Horne warned “don’t disappear into the bushes when the bullets start flying.” Horne’s metaphorical bullets will be represented by the increase in the number of failing schools that will result from the first round of CCSS tests.
While Florida legislators are attempting to reassure everyone that only a few schools would be affected by Parent Trigger, Scott is aware that CCSS will be increasing that number by as much as 125. Consider this simple, cryptic response he gave the editors of Sun Sentinel editorial board this week on Parent Trigger.
Commissioner of Education Tony Bennett has expressed his concerns, and I want to let that process go through. I have not seen a final bill.
Unlike last year, Scott has kept silent on Parent Trigger. He’s left the heavy lifting this year to Jeb Bush’s foundation. It is Bush who has more to lose in the event the Senate rejects it again and it’s doubtful Scott would shed a tear if it happens. Florida’s current governor has had to take considerable heat for things Bush controls. The republican-dominated legislature and the majority of the state board will always be more loyal to Bush than Scott. It’s furthermore noteworthy that the two education commissioners that have served under Scott have been on the list of Bush’s Chiefs for Change. Even employees a the FLDOE are more loyal to Bush as his foundations promise top dollar future employment.
Scott is a sitting duck on Parent Trigger and loses if the bill ever reaches his desk. If he signs the bill, he will get the blame for the “bullets that start flying.” If he vetoes it, he gets the Charlie Crist treatment and will have to face a primary challenge next summer from a candidate hand-picked by Bush.