From Susan Smith, president of the Democratic Progressive Caucus of Florida…
Unless you’ve been living in a cave, you should be aware of the “Parent Empowerment” bill that’s in the Florida legislature. This is ALEC model legislation being pushed by Jeb Bush, Michelle Rhee (funded by Rupert Murdoch), and the Gates Foundation. Opponents of the bill are the Florida PTA, FundEducationNow, 50thNoMore, SaveDuvalSchools, the labor unions, and the League of Women Voters. I know which side I’m on! Please read today’s editorial in the St. Pete Times for more information.
Calls and emails can really make a difference with this nasty piece of legislation. Please take 10 minutes to call the following legislators and ask them to vote NO on Senate Bill 1718. Be sure to tell them if you are a constituent. If you are not a constituent, say you are a supporter of public education. Leave a message if you can’t get a live person. And last of all, please share this with your contacts. Thank you!
Targets, relevant points and background below:
Sen. Altman – (321) 752-3138 (co-sponsor of bill – Tallahassee number wasn’t taking voice messages)
Sen. Evers – (850) 487-5000
Sen. Garcia – (850) 487-5106
Sen. Diaz de la Portilla – (850) 487-5109
Sen. Norman – (850) 487-5068
Sen. Fasano – (850) 487-5062
Sen. Oelrich – (850) 487-5020
Sen. Bennett – (850) 487-5078
Vote NO on SB 1718
The Parent Empowerment bill, also known as the “trigger” bill, is an attempt at a hostile takeover of our public schools system by private for-profit charters.
Outside groups have been flown into Florida to lobby for this bill. Why? Who’s paying for it?
I am a strong supporter of public schools. I stand with PTA, Fund Education Now, and the many Florida parent groups who oppose this bill.
This bill does nothing to “empower” parents, and instead will allow our public resources to be turned over to un-elected, out-of-state boards for management.
Charters fail at a much higher rate than traditional public schools. There is no data to prove they are better than traditional public schools.
This bill states that a “failing” school could pull the trigger (by having 50% +1 of the parents sign a petition) to fire the principal, fire the teachers, and/or turn the school over to a private charter company. This takes control away from local elected leaders and puts it in the hands of private businesses. This could also turn public property over to private businesses. Charters have a high failure rate, so any argument about helping kids is not based on data.
This bill is ALEC legislation that is being pushed around the country by Jeb Bush and Michelle Rhee. All the established parent groups in Florida, like PTA, opposed this bill. A group called Parents Revolution was flown in from California to testify on behalf of the bill. In California, where the bill was passed a few years ago, “astroturf” (fake grassroots) groups have gone in to mislead parents into signing the petitions to pull the trigger on failing schools.