Step Up For Students Demonizes Florida School Boards – Assault on Local Control Continues


In pumping up former Florida senator John McCay’s supporting piece for vouchers in this morning’s Bradenton Herald, Step Up for Students executive Ron Matus tweeted:

All #Florida parents should worry about @FloridaEA@FLSchoolBoards attack on #schoolchoice

Step Up for Students is the well-compensated agent which administers Florida’s school voucher program, cleverly named the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program. Like the Obama administration’s aversion to using the word “terrorist,” SUFS and Jeb Bush’s foundation bristle at “vouchers,” and insist upon calling them “scholarships.”

Anyhow, SUFS’ hostility toward the union which represents Florida teachers is nothing new. The jab at the state’s elected school boards is new. While both Matus and McCay are focused on the FSBA and the FEA’s lawsuit which challenges their pet program, and that they and not them are the one’s engaged in turf protection, a far larger issue is at play.

Local school boards and the idea of local control of schools are the mortal enemy of school choice educrats like SUFS and the one’s who float back and forth between jobs at one of Jeb Bush’s foundations and the Florida DOE. The lobbyists and special interests of the testing industry and for-profit charter schools would rather not have to be troubled by silly school boards in Florida communities when they can just wine and dine and buy their way with the Tallahassee ruling class dominated by republicans.

McCay’s verbal jiu-jitsu with the word “uniformity” is laughable. Unsurprisingly, he makes no mention that voucher schools benefit from a separate and unequal accountability system. Taxpayers and parents have no idea how schools are performing.

One wonders how SUFS and guys like McCay will weigh in on the parents choosing to opt-out of state-wide testing. They will probably stay silent and are fortunate to get to hide behind education commissioner Pam Stewart who has declared that its illegal to opt-out They probably enjoy the fact that school boards and the state’s teachers are in her crosshairs. Pitty parents can’t choose, isn’t it?

So who’s attacking #schoolchoice now? As always, this crowd only wants Floridians to choose what they say to choose.

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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One Response to Step Up For Students Demonizes Florida School Boards – Assault on Local Control Continues

  1. I read Stewards letter…

    To play it safe, teachers should probably avoid making any public comments.. If Common Core falls apart due to parental resentment, Jeb Bush’s political future goes with it.. His funding from Gates, the Chamber of Commerce and less obvious donors with dry up.. But he’ll still have enough influence in Tallahassee to destroy the careers of any teachers who publicly suggest opting out.

    That is, barring a massive protest of some sort by the teachers union.. The Steward’s threats becoming meaningless..

    On the other hand, roughly 60% of all parents nationwide want Common Core to go away.. As I understand it, if more than 6% of the students don’t take the test, the results are invalided.. That means if just one in 10 parents opposed to Common Core keep their children home during testing, Pan Steward has a big problem. Any attempt to retaliate against that many students would be viewed by the public as an act of revenge. It would provide a lot of ammunition for both Democrats and Conservatives who are fed up with Bush’s Establishment GOP Machine. Steward knows it, and it’s not something she wants to risk..

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