House Democrats unite against contentious education bill


The House Democratic Caucus on Wednesday decided to oppose a bill it calls an “attack on … public education.”

The “caucus position” against the measure (HB 7055) came during a meeting before the afternoon floor session where House members are discussing their version of the state budget for 2017-18.

The education bill, among other things, would fund tuition for private school for students who are bullied in public schools. The Florida Education Association, the state’s teacher union, has begun a PR onslaught against the bill.

“This monstrosity is a clear attempt to destroy our public schools while telling professional educators they simply are not welcome in Florida,” FEA president Joanne McCall said in a statement.

“… We are asking lawmakers to stand up to Speaker (Richard) Corcoran and for our children, for our teachers and for our public schools. We are asking them to say ‘enough is enough.’ ”

Rep. Shevrin Jones, a West Park Democrat, called the measure “an outright attack on Florida’s teachers, students, and our entire public education system.” He filed a slew of amendments on the bill.

“This is an irresponsible approach to public policy which binds the passage of substantive legislation directly to the funding source for our traditional public schools,” he said in a separate statement. “The ideas in a piece of legislation should be able to stand on their own merit rather than leverage crucial resources for support.

“Today I am proud to join with the members of my caucus and declare that House Democrats will stand united in opposition against this monstrous piece of legislation which is designed to divert even more funding away from Florida’s traditional public schools. We will fight tooth and nail for Florida’s teachers, students, and working families.”

Staff Reports


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