Scott’s Keep Florida Learning Committee Has Two Legislators – Both Republicans With Strong Charter School Ties

Here is the list from Jeffrey  Solochek in Gradebook:

Education Commissioner Pam Stewart

2015 Florida Teacher of the Year: Christie Bassett, Polk County

Legislator: Representative Manny Díaz, Jr., a Hialeah Republican who works for a charter school firm and heads the House Choice and Innovation Committee

Principal: Dr. Margaret Fahringer, Miami-Dade County

Teacher: Doris Garcia, Orange County

Parent: Julia (Megan) Hendricks, Pasco County, a “concerned parent” with interests in testing issues

School Board Member: Patty Hightower, Escambia County, president of the Florida School Boards Association

Higher Education Participant: Joe Pickens, Putnam County, president of St. Johns River State College and a former lawmaker

Superintendent: Dr. Owen Roberts, Alachua County

Legislator: Senator Kelli Stargel, a Lakeland Republican whose husband serves on a charter school board of directors

Parent: Laura Zorc, Indian River County, a Common Core opponent

The committee plans to meet for the first time by phone in March. More details to come.

Diaz, who draws a nice salary from pro-profit charter school giant, Academica, has sponsored two pieces of charter school friendly legislation the past two sessions. Stargel was the last senate sponsor of Parent Trigger and actively touted a discredited petition from Michelle Rhee’s organization.  She also meddled in Polk county school districts efforts to open its own charter schools in 2012

While the committee was “among other goals” designed to review “deregulation opportunities” and identify more parental choice options in public schools,” its hard to imagine it having any teeth or coming up with any meaningful consensus. And, shhhhh, no Democrats either. Why wasn’t Sen. Bill Montford  named to the committee?



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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3 Responses to Scott’s Keep Florida Learning Committee Has Two Legislators – Both Republicans With Strong Charter School Ties

  1. Glen Brown says:

    Let’s also talk about the attacks on teachers’ pensions across this country:

  2. Yes, let’s all tell Governor Scott we’re on to him. We demand real change. Here’s a press release about a miracle unfolding: 2/26/15 Press Release: For immediate Release
    The Florida Education Stakeholders Empowerment Act has been filed in the Florida Senate by sponsor Senator Greg Evers and Representative John Tobia in the Florida House 2/25/15.
    GOOD NEWS! We have simple solutions for Florida’s Education problems with something for everyone to love:
    • Issue 1: What students are learning- The Commissioner will select several of the best standards from pre 2009 for the local districts to select. These standards for English and math are free and not copyrighted, well vetted and highly rated (higher than our existing standards). Districts will have local control to choose from this list based on their varied and diverse needs.
    • Issue 2: Accountability and High Stakes Testing with the FSA- yes, we need to measure, but there are already nationally normed tests that will do a better job comparing us to the rest of the nation and the world. We don’t need to reinvent the wheel or force our kids to be guinea pigs. We propose the districts should have local control to choose from a list of the best of these, such as the Iowa Basics and Stanford Achievement Tests. They would administer ONE test at the end of each year between 3rd and 8th grade and once in high school. These tests are less expensive and pre-common core versions are available. Teachers will not be teaching to the test if it is a nationally normed test and it is NOT used to determine graduation or promotion, but simply to inform us on our students’ progress relative to other states. Certified teachers and accredited schools have used a portfolio of work to measure student performance for hundreds of years. A single test should never be used for graduation or promotion.
    • Issue 3: These tests can be administered on paper and taken at the student’s own desk, eliminating the “musical chairs” now needed to address the lack of computers for testing. This has, by some reports, absorbed as much as 40% of class time for learning. By going to paper tests, we can reduce costs by BILLIONS of scarce education dollars, AND increase time for learning. It will also allow schools more control of the data to prevent data mining. Student data can be aggregated with individual identifiers removed to prevent data companies from collecting and using individual data.
    • There is something for everyone to love in this bill. It saves money, provides more time for learning, and provides high standards and accountability. Hundreds of grassroots groups support this bill. We are having a “March for the Children” event in the Capitol March 5 with a press conference 11:30-12:45 on the 22nd Floor of the Capitol Building.
    “This is truly a grassroots solution to the convoluted and oppressive testing and Federal overreach problems that have plagued schools and destroyed the love of learning,” states Keith Flaugh, Chairman of the Florida Citizens’ Alliance.
    “There is something for everyone to love in this bill,” says the State Chair for the issue of Common Core and co-founder of, Chris Quackenbush.
    “This is an exciting step forward in reclaiming our children’s education.” Said Charlotte Greenbarg, President of Independent Voices for Better Education.

    Contact: Chris Quackenbush

  3. I’d like to see more research on the rest of the members. They are likely ALL tainted. Laura Zorc is a traitor interested in her self promotion. She actually received money from the RPOF for campaigning for Rick Scott and writing a letter to anti common core people to vote for him. She made false statements about her group and their support. It’s all about the money and power.

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