Former Florida senator turned education privatization super-lobbyist Al Lawson took his turn at mischaracterizing opponents of the Florida voucher expansion scheme that would enrich the executives who run it. To do so, he needed to misrepresent the words of a former senate colleague. Wrote Lawson of Paula Dockery’s recent opinion piece.
My former Senate colleague in this fight, Republican Paula Dockery, said in her column she is worried the scholarships harm public education. However, I’ve never seen that. I see a program that gives learning options to some of our most desperate parents. These parents aren’t against public schools. Their children are struggling, and they’re just looking for a place where they might blossom, and are so grateful when that happens. I have little tolerance for those who try to cast these parents as villains in public education. Education is a not a zero-sum game, and this scholarship is simply about giving poor families more options.
In its blog, Step Up for Students stayed true to form and didn’t link Dockery’s column. To do so would have been to expose Lawson’s complete distortion of what Dockery wrote. She, in fact, made no mention whatsoever of the parents of voucher students. But Step Up for Students was sure to mention that Lawson is a Democrat and doubled down on the smear with a headline titled, “Democrat: Stop Casting School Choice Parents As Villans in Public Ed.”
Step Up for Students also slanted Lawson’s resume. as they simply identify him as a former state senator who is “a member of the unpaid Board of Directors of Step Up For Students.” Not Quite. Lawson has a lobbying firm which has represented Charter Schools USA, the Florida Charter School Alliance, the Foundation for Florida’s Future, and Parent Revolution.
No longer able to get what they want on the merits, well-paid voucher expansionists now are now reduced to demonizing opponents. Hardly something you’d expect from a bunch off folks who say how much they care about parents, kids and families.