After staging a hissy-fit about Charlie Crist’s fan before last night’s debate even began, Rick Scott made another false counter attack about Crist’s education record. From Lauren Caroll and Amy Sherman for PolitiFact:
At an Oct. 15 debate between the candidates — the second debate of the campaign — Scott repeatedly said 832,000 Florida jobs were lost during Crist’s term. (We’ve previously rated that claim Half True.)
Crist swatted away Scott’s critique, arguing that the recession was to blame for those job losses. He said he took federal stimulus money that “helped us make sure we didn’t have to fire 20,000 school teachers.” (We’ve rated that claim Mostly True.)
Scott retorted by saying Crist was responsible for killing thousands of teacher jobs as he focused his attention on other career opportunities.
“He spent all his time trying to be vice president and then running against Marco Rubio for the Senate,” Scott said. “3,000 teachers lost their jobs when Charlie was governor.”
The claim omits some key points. The number was derived from media reports about possible layoffs; not all of them materialized. Also, the claim glosses over the fact that Crist accepted federal stimulus money that preserved thousands of teacher jobs. Finally, Crist was not solely responsible for teacher layoffs. Crist and the Republican-led Legislature signed off on budget cuts amid a national recession — something no single politician is personally responsible for.
Clearly, some teachers were laid off statewide, but there’s a lack of evidence that it amounted to 3,000 positions.
We rate this claim Mostly False.
The numbers probably don’t exist, but an excellent counter from Crist would be to assert that thousands of “great teachers” – have left the profession because of Scott’s test-dominated teacher evaluation bill. Moreover, the elimination of tenure in the same bill, SB 736, has made teaching an unattractive option for talented new grads. Low salaries the elimination of due process that tenure ensured makes not a good job
“Great teachers” is something Scott said would be the norm with passage of SB 736. “Great” for whom? A teacher is most effective between their 10th and 20th years. Scott’s SB 736 is already shrinking that pool of experienced teachers. Perhaps Scott needs to be asked what he feels determines “great teachers.” He likely hopes to dodge such an inquiry over the next three weeks as his signature on SB 736 establishes “great teachers” as one who generates great test scores – the emphasis on which he has stated he wants to decrease.