When HB 7069 was signed into law, many hoped for an outcry from the citizens of the State. It’s been eerily quiet, and makes me think of what we used to call ‘earthquake weather’ in California when I was a child. Just before an earthquake, everything was so quiet that even the leaves on the trees did not move.
Today’s Florida’s Politics reports a rumble starting. Senator Simmons who worked so hard with Senator Farmer and others to craft a reasonable educational policy said, “We’re not done yet with HB 7069”. Senator Farmer is considering a lawsuit because the conference committee members swept up so many provisions and, in secret and at the last minute, created a bill that violates the single subject provision for bills.
Governor Scott could have vetoed HB 7069 but did not. The most destructive provisions include:
- Automatic charter school take over of low-performing schools. High performing charters don’t want these schools. Other charters take only the students they want and leave the others to fend for themselves.
- House members deleted Senator Simmons’ provisions to control charter school self dealing and corruption.
- Sharing local capital outlay that public schools badly need for facility maintenance puts money in privately owned charter facilities. Big charter chains make their money through their real estate companies.
- Teacher bonuses based on test scores do not address teacher shortages.
- Proposed reduction in testing is meaningless.
Thousands of people urged Governor Scott to veto this bill. He did not. Many more thousands need to be heard. Make a noise; turn the rumble into a roar to end the move to privatize our schools. It does not work; they make false promises. We can solve our own problems. Say so! Don’t let corporations take over our schools; they belong to us.