The juggernaut Florida education reform measure known as (SB 6) HB 7189 is set for an 8 hour hearing in The House Education Policy Committee on Monday, April 5. Inside sources believe that the measure will pass the committee along party lines and will be put on the floor for a second reading and eventually an up or down vote by the full house on either Tuesday or Wednesday-- April 6 or April 7.
Sources confirm that a tremendous number of calls have flooded the House of Representatives, with Speaker Larry Cretul reporting to sources that more than 6000 calls came in on Thursday alone regarding HB7189. The majority of these calls are anti- HB7189 SB 6. It is good that some voices are making themselves heard with rational explanations for the need to reform.
The bill in question is definitely a lightning rod-- but those that are extremely close to the process and familiar with the way things work in Tallahassee are sticking with their predictions that this bill will pass and may end up on the Governor’s Desk for Signature by next week’s end.
Predictions are that this bill will come through the house with no substantial amendments or changes. Even if amendments are added, I’m told the Senate would again pass the bill.
Perhaps Florida’s loss in the first round of the Federal Race to the Top Grant will propel this Florida initiative to the Governor’s signature table even quicker than if Florida had won a grant? Speculation has emerged that tremendous pressure was applied by the Teacher’s Unions (Florida and National) to the Federal Government DOE to NOT select Florida as a first round RTTT winner because “buy-in” was not achieved between Florida DOE and the Unions. Of course, everyone in the world is denying this, and for good reason. But, Initial Federal DOE RTTT guidelines stipulated that winners would be announced in April. The first round winners, Delaware and Tennessee, were chosen in late March. Was it simply coincidental that the timing of the first round winners lined up with contentious debate in Florida on “Game Changing” education reform legislation? I’m just saying…
Some feel these EARLY announcements were a conscious decision on the part of the Federal DOE (at the urging of the National and Florida State Teacher’s Unions and their Lobbyists) to slow down this bullet train now called HB7189. Could that have been the reason? Reading some blogs around the state, the sense I get is that the Florida Teachers’ Union is content with Florida’s missing out on a billion dollars in Federal money for Florida’s kids in round one--because the union was not on board. I’m still having a hard time understanding why anyone who claims to care about kids in Florida, regardless of political persuasion, would seem unmoved by the fact that Florida schools just lost out on $1Billion.
We all know everyone was stupefied and amazed when Florida was not chosen—I just hope to God it was not because Florida did not score enough “popularity” points to win.
The good news-it appears as if losing out on RTTT will not dissuade the Florida legislature from pursuing meaningful education reform via SB6/HB 7189. If voting against Florida's RTTT application in round one to change/derail the legislation was the motivation, that idea backfired. Florida is challenging the Status Quo--as I've heard Arne Duncan call for in his speeches.
If Florida fails to win round two RTTT many will feel that "the fix was in" from the start. What a sad travesty if that happens…….Everyone who knows anything knows Florida is on the cutting edge of education reform nationwide-we are the model for it.
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