Connect with us
Photo credit: Kim Defalco
Florida Senate candidate Janet Cruz talks about public education with Democratic Lt. Gov. nominee Chris King.

Tampa Bay

‘Dammit Dana’: Janet Cruz blasts opponent Dana Young’s education record

House Democratic Leader Janet Cruz, now challenging GOP state Sen. Dana Young for her Senate District 18 seat, is attacking her opponent’s record on education policy and funding.

“Dammit Dana, stop,” Cruz lamented at a press conference in front of Plant High School in south Tampa on Tuesday.

Cruz was referring to Young’s track record voting in favor of school choice programs like vouchers and charter schools, which critics say funnel funding away from traditional public schools into corporate hands.

Young responded to Cruz’s comments, arguing school choice programs are effective for children, particularly those who may not live near good schools.

Bottom line, no one can really say any more what traditional education is, because that rigid thinking does not help the students,” Young said.

“I support public education. I support school choice. And I will continue to support education funding that helps the child succeed, whatever format that is and (whatever) is best for them.”

Young also said choice programs are making public education better.

“There is only one test given to a sampling of students in every state, and that is the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). Fifteen years ago, Florida students were ranked 38th … Now, Florida is ranked fifth. That means the system we have works for the students.”

Cruz, the House District 62 incumbent, spoke with Lt. Governor nominee Chris King at an event touting the Gillum/King ticket’s education platform that would put $1 billion into education by raising corporate tax rates by 2 percent.

Cruz acknowledged implementing Gillum’s plan might be a tough climb in a Republican-majority Legislature, but said a Gillum win creates two wins for Democrats. 

It gives veto power over what many in the party see as damaging education proposals, and it gives Democrats a better shot at having a seat at the table in 2020 when district lines are redrawn.

“Democrats and Republicans in this state are nearly equal,” Cruz said. “Yet Republicans control (a huge) majority of the House.”

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for Patch.com and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a die-hard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics, including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and contentious issues surrounding transit. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also a devoted wife and mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder.

Andrew Gillum Andrew Gillum

Yep, the FBI did f*ck Andrew Gillum

Emails & Opinions

Parkland names pad Ron DeSantis’ public safety panel

Headlines

T.K. Wetherell, former House Speaker and FSU president, now in hospice

Headlines

Brian Mast outlines early path for Ron DeSantis’ algae battle

Influence

Sign up for Sunburn

Receive our team's agenda-setting morning read of what's hot in Florida politics. Delivered straight to your inbox Monday through Friday.

Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Jim Rosica, A.G. Gancarski, Joe Henderson, Janelle Irwin, Dan McAuliffe, Michael Moline, Jacob Ogles, Scott Powers, Bob Sparks, Andrew Wilson.
Email: Peter@FloridaPolitics.com
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704

Connect
Sign up for Sunburn

Receive our team's agenda-setting morning read of what's hot in Florida politics. Delivered straight to your inbox Monday through Friday.