I am one member of a five person board. The opinions I express on this forum are mine only, and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the Escambia County Staff, Administrators, Employees, or anyone else associated with Escambia County Florida. I am interested in establishing this blog as a means of additional transparency to the public, outreach to the community, and information dissemination to all who choose to look. Feedback is welcome, but because public participation is equally encouraged, appropriate language and decorum is mandatory.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Sign SB 850 into Law!

So-- very few will actually wade through all 140 pages of SB 850 before jumping on a bandwagon, listening to others' talking points, then becoming conscripts in the charge demanding Governor Scott veto this bill.  But there are some important matters addressed in this bill and I hope Governor Scott will sign it into law.

First and foremost, the provisions related to Career and Professional Education are extremely important;  we all know college is not for every student, and proper CAPE implementation is imperative for the students who will be foregoing college and entering the workforce directly.

In addition, this law fosters an increase in cooperation between colleges and school districts, which in turn will hasten increased dual enrollment opportunities for students and families.  This will save HUGE money for these folks when the college years begin and is a big benefit to parents/taxpayers/college families/and students who do not have lavish budgets for school.  All these folks benefit from SB 850!

Also, the fact that Florida Corporations can lower their tax burdens while simultaneously benefiting students that have special needs, this is a GOOD thing!  The fact that more parents will have more options for their students as a result of the expansion of this program is a GOOD thing!  When did helping families and students with disabilities become a bad thing?  Why would anyone want to stand in between a parent and student, stuck in a failing school system, and a better educational choice for such students/parents?
Answer: ---those who would do this are those who's loyalty is for the system, not the student.  I am the opposite.  I am for parents, students, taxpayers and choice!  I'm agnostic as to the educational vehicle--be it public, private, charter, virtual, or home-school. I want public schools to succeed and get better, I'm a product of excellent public schools and my kids go to public schools--- but the world is changing and we need to keep up.   I also understand economics;  oligopolies and monopolies, in most cases, do not benefit consumers and lead to inferior products, higher costs, and inefficiency.  I want our district, and all districts, to compete!!  This will, in time, make us better, more efficient, and more student-focused.

Meanwhile--the disingenuous vitriol coming from the various guardians of the status quo is just about enough to make me violently ill.  I'm sick and tired of people screaming that allowing student and parental

choice somehow "robs" schools--that is a lie.  Schools are funded based upon a formula that is built based upon attendance.  If you want more money, grow your enrollment by making your schools, safer, better, and more appealing, not by forcing students into limited options which are hand selected by bureaucrats and educrats.  I'm sick of that mentality!   I want parents and students to have choice in education.  Trying to stop this is only going to push more and more students into virtual, home-school, and private schools--choices they already have--except for low income folks like the ones this bill will directly benefit....

 Competition works, and instead of attempting to stifle every piece of forward thinking, parent/student-centered legislation that comes down the pipe, these "groups" and various other red-shirted "screamers" that hate SB 850 should be asked what their plan is to make chronically failing schools better?  (Hint, the answer can' be/is not "more money!--that has been illustrated already in train-wreck districts like LA and DC--where the current FTE outlay is $30K per..")

The amount that will be spent for ESE scholarships via this bill, when compared to the massive, statewide, taxpayer funded expenditures for public schools yearly in Florida--- is minuscule! So stop with the rhetoric, propaganda, and red-herrings already, why don't you!!  This is also private sector, corporate sponsored money that is being used to fund scholarships for ESE students via SB 850--not taxpayer money as is being intimated by many who are arguing against this bill.

Giving more choice is always good, everybody knows this.

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