Florida Crony Club Proposes Another Trick to Expedite the Destruction of
Our Public Schools

The Straight-Up Skinny

Republican legislators Jeff Brandes, of the Florida Senate, and Matt Caldwell, a Lee County House Representative, have proposed a bill to “ask” voters to change the state constitution and allow the legislature to exercise more control over how school districts in Florida are composed and administered. As usual, the proposal would take a straightforward system and make a mess of it. Please read the bill. It’s a short read.

A Brazen Reach for More Power

Brandes and Caldwell propose that Florida voters actually agree to amend the constitution and hand more power to the same bunch of idiots and scoundrels who have made a mockery of accountability in our state. These guys actually want us to give them the authority to break up and combine districts as they wish, as well as create charter districts at their whim.

Right now, district school boards have the final word over whether or not a charter school operation is allowed to begin fleecing the taxpayers. Brandes’ and Caldwell’s pernicious legislative power grab, presented as euphemistically as they can manage, would change all that. It would give the legislature, which clearly has too much power over public schools in the state already, even more, and enable it to dissolve school districts and create charter districts as it sees fit.

Education in the Political Marketplace

Besides allowing school board races to become partisan affairs, the proposed amendment would also allow the administration of our schools to be taken away from local school boards and placed in the hands of county and municipal commissions, circumventing the direct accountability to voters that school boards are currently subject to. This is important, because a county commission can effectively divide its constituents along lines defined by issues, thereby encouraging voters to allow public schools to be disemboweled and buried alive in sacrifice for some other, more directly tangible benefit to the community. It is a terrible idea that smells like the pure rat shit it is.

Politics at any level is ultimately a marketplace where issues and initiatives are bartered and bought and sold much like produce at farmers’ markets. The larger a governmental entity is, the more issues its members have to trade. Allowing the administrative prerogative over schools to be taken away from school boards and given to county or municipal governments will result in our public schools becoming just another of many issues over which those governments preside, and will allow the legislature immense latitude in further disassembling the long-standing paradigm of school boards being directly accountable to the citizens they serve. We mustn’t allow the legislature to sell this latest deceptive ploy as an improvement in terms of flexibility for districts. This thinly veiled swipe at public schools is essentially an attempt at a coup de grâce, and will light a funeral pyre beneath our public education system.

Oh, the Irony

The perverse irony here is that the very clan of profiteering cronies who continue to assault public school districts based on those districts’ mythical lack of quality is the same group that is responsible for the devious combination of micromanagement and lack of investment that has handicapped Florida’s public schools in the first place.

Florida’s public school districts would have far fewer problems if the legislature would just fund them at decent levels and leave them alone to manage themselves. The creep toward centralization of administrative prerogative in public education in Florida has yielded zilch in terms of improvement of services to students. Every duplicitous insult the Tallahassee Crony Club has come up with pertaining to public education has resulted in damage of one sort or another to the institution. While the damage is always unanticipated by the voters who allow these people to continue to assail our public education system, there is no debate as to whether or not the lawmakers responsible for the destruction quietly foresee it. Their plan is quite simple: the complete and utter destruction of public education in our state. Why would they do anything to actually improve it?

There is no conspiracy theory here; there is only a conspiracy.

If you think that Brandes and Caldwell came up with this idea alone, you’d better think again, and moreover, if your concept of the Florida Legislature doesn’t include images of these conflict of interest-ridden rascals sitting around in whatever exclusive clubhouses they frequent, brainstorming ways to prosecute their War on Public Education, you probably need to reassess how you look at Florida government. The two cheats who filed the bill may well have not even thought of it themselves. It is entirely plausible, even probable, that they were simply designated the safest two club members to have introduce it, as they have been able to largely escape association with the litany of other destructive initiatives the legislature has embarked on in its campaign against our schools.

The FEA, as well as all of its local affiliates, needs to come out hard against this bill. If they don’t, it just might spell the end of them as well. The first order of business needs to be getting the word out to teachers.


Involved parents who care about the future of free public education in our state need to make an effort to get other, less informed parents into this fight. Without more parental involvement, our defense against the legislative terrorism that is sweeping public education can only yield limited results, and the crooks who are attempting to destroy the very underpinnings of democracy will continue to make progress.


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