Once again, a legislature wants to change the Florida constitution. It will not be easy. It takes 60% of the electorate to approve once it is on the ballot.
A House Republican on Friday proposed a constitutional amendment that would lead to Florida returning to an elected education commissioner who would be part of the state Cabinet. Rep. Debbie Mayfield, R-Vero Beach, filed the proposal (HJR 767) for consideration during the 2016 legislative session, which starts in January. If passed by the Legislature, the proposal would need to gain approval from 60 percent of Florida voters.
The state in the past had an elected education commissioner who sat on the Cabinet, but that ended after voters in 1998 approved a ballot measure to restructure the Cabinet. The 1998 constitutional amendment also created the appointed state Board of Education, which names a commissioner. Mayfield’s proposal would lead to the governor and Cabinet serving as the state Board of Education, eliminating the appointed panel.
It is hard to see how having the Governor and the cabinet serve as the State Board of Education would be an improvement. I remember the days when Florida’s system ran that way. I also remember how things changed in 1998. A different party; a different educational policy.