Will Florida Voucher Proponents Use Children As a “Cynical Media Prop” Tomorrow?

the Florida Education Association VP Joanne McCall released a statement today to the media which served as a broadside to opponents of the lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Florida’s school voucher program. A key hearing is scheduled in the Leon County Courthouse tomorrow at 1:15.

“The opponents of Florida’s public school system, in all likelihood, will attempt to make a circus of this hearing. As they have done in the past, they may be busing in private school children from around the state. As a teacher, I am deeply offended that children are being used as media props in a well-orchestrated and cynical attempt to turn the public against our local public schools and against those who support a fully funded public school system.”

Indeed it will be. But it won’t be the first time. In fact, its routine for the “school choice” industry to take kids out of school to use as political back drops. Or as in one recent case, as a face to single out the FEA in a TV attack ad which aired during last weekend’s Super Bowl.

In 2013 and 2012, school choice advocacy groups have bused in kids for political rallies as back drops for politicians. The have also been brought in to testify before legislative hearings about charter school funding and used the palpably manipulating angle that “charter school children are worth just as much as public school children.”

All children indeed matter. But it is  adults who drive the school choice industry like  for-profit charter schools and educrats who benefit from taxpayer-funded vouchers. They will apply any means to achieve their goal.  They are quick and correct to point out that these options receive less per-pupil funding. But they also have gotten Florida republican legislators to pass legislation which gives them favored status and a playing field tilted toward their advantage. They have invested a lot for access via campaign contributions. Some Florida republican legislators are even on their payroll.

More from McCall’s statement:

 “We believe this demonstrates one of the key differences between public and for-profit schools – private schools that rely on tax dollars. These private schools, despite using diverted tax dollars, do not have to adhere to the same standards as public schools, are not accountable to the public and can have their children pulled out of class to answer to the dictates of a politically motivated agenda.”

Perhaps continuing review of the manner the profitable school choice industry operates helps Floridians understand that they have no shame and that they will exploit the same children they purport to represent.  And then they will hide behind those same children to justify themselves.






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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