State of Florida Archives: on Education


Rick Scott: Eliminated tenure; with performance pay, give $2,500 raise

When I first stood before you in 2011, I said, "The single most important factor in student learning is the quality of teaching." Since that time, we eliminated teacher tenure. We signed performance pay into law, and it will take effect in 2014.

Florida's education system is making tremendous progress, due in large part to our great teachers and the work begun by Gov. Bush. Our students and teachers were recently ranked 6th for educational quality; and our 4th-graders scored among the highest in the world on a recent reading evaluation. Accountability is working.

The best way we can build on this progress is to reward our hard-working teachers with a $2,500 pay raise. Some say they are afraid that giving raises to all teachers may mean that a teacher doing a bad job gets rewarded. But, thanks to our work, we are now in a better position than ever before to reward good teachers and move bad teachers out of the classroom. We don't want a war on teachers; we want a war on failure.

Source: 2013 State of the State speech to Florida Legislature Mar 5, 2013

Ted Yoho: Department of Education should be eliminated over 3-5 years

Q: Do you support requiring states to implement education reforms in order to be eligible for competitive federal grants?

A: No. I believe that the Department of Education should be eliminated over a 3-5 year process through attrition and reassignment. The monies should be returned to the States and education should be left at the State level.

Source: Florida Congressional Election 2012 Political Courage Test Nov 1, 2012

Rick Scott: Increase the number of charter schools

We need to focus on our incredible opportunity to improve our K-through-12 education system. We now have real innovators offering a 21st century approach to education. And many of those new approaches offer better outcomes without increasing costs.

I am calling for an increase in the number of charter schools--which are public schools that are allowed to work independently of their school board and can innovate in ways that encourage all schools to improve.

Source: 2011 State of the State speech to Florida legislature Mar 8, 2011

Jeb Bush: Guarantee college admission for top 20% of high school grads

After discussions failed to convince him to delay his initiative until 2002, Bush stepped in with an executive order banning racial and gender preferences in university admissions and state contracting. Called "One Florida" the governor's program guaranteed college admissions to the top 20% of each high school graduating class, provided that students had taken college preparatory classes. It also required agencies of Florida state government to make special efforts to reach out to minority contractors and to increase state business with such companies without the use of set-asides and price preferences.
Source: Aggressive Conservatism in Florida, by Robert Crew, p. 91 Dec 11, 2009

Jeb Bush: Catholic Conference sought more voucher accountability

The underlying assumption of school choice theory is that alternatives to the regular public schools will enjoy high-quality management that will not affect the nature of the education involved. The Bush administration discovered that this assumption was too optimistic and that such issues can affect substantially the performance of these schools.

Governor Bush's voucher programs also encountered the kinds of accountability problems other privatization projects faced, but he would take no action to correct them even when the Florida Catholic Conference, a major beneficiary of vouchers, pushed for accountability standards, and the Florida Senate and the state auditor general specifically criticized the McKay Voucher Program for failure to screen and monitor the types of schools being awarded the funds involved and for allowing operators who did not have the capability to provide proper educational services to enroll students in their schools.

Source: Aggressive Conservatism in Florida, by Robert Crew, p.130-1 Dec 11, 2009

Jeb Bush: 60% of FCAT-passed schools failed to meet NCLB standards

Bush's educational reform program focused on changing the way in which Florida's regular public schools delivered their product and reported on their performance. The policy contained two components:
  1. grading public school reading, writing and mathematics performance on an A-F scale; and
  2. annual reporting of these grades to the public.
Bush mounted an aggressive effort to defend his A+ Plan, citing the quality of the FCAT and improved student performance on the test as evidence that the plan worked. The governor's position was that the narrow focus on reading, writing, and mathematics that he advocated ensured that all students had similar experiences that prepared them for the future.

One national education organization claimed that the FCAT reflects "modest expectation." In 2006, 60% of the schools that scored either A or B on the state FCAT test failed to meet the standards for the federal No Child Left Behind Law.

Source: Aggressive Conservatism in Florida, by Robert Crew, p.139 Dec 11, 2009

Fred Thompson: Voted for No Child Left Behind, but critics were right

Q: You voted in favor of the No Child Left Behind law, though critics warned that it was too intrusive, too bureaucratic. They also warned that teachers would teach to the test.

A:Yes.

Q: Now you say all those things are true. Was your vote a mistake

A: Yeah. I did vote for it, and some of those critics were right. And some of us were wrong. What has happened is that, indeed, states have taught to the test. We’ve not gotten the transparency and the accountability that we thought we were getting.

Source: 2007 GOP primary debate in Orlando, Florida Oct 21, 2007

Fred Thompson: Allow states to experiment with vouchers & charter schools

The federal government only is responsible for about 8% of what is spent [on education]. We need to concentrate on helping the states, making sure that 8% is spent wisely. But there are a lot of good things going on at the state level, you know, in terms of free markets, in terms of competition, and the things that work in the rest of our society, vouchers, charter schools, things of that nature. States ought to be allowed to experiment and do the things that they know best at the state and local level.
Source: 2007 GOP primary debate in Orlando, Florida Oct 21, 2007

Rudy Giuliani: Empower parents to decide parochial, charter, or home school

I want to tell you a little story, because this is the thing that made me feel very strongly about choice. There was a school scholarship program about 1997. They offered 2,500 scholarships to parents of public school children in NYC if they wanted to send their child to a private school, a parochial school, a charter school. We had 168,000 applications by those parents. We had to turn most of them down. We had to tell them because they don’t have enough money, they couldn’t put the child in the school of their choice.

It seems to me the thing that’s wrong right at the core of No Child Left Behind is the enforcer of standards should not be the bureaucrat in Washington or on the board of education. It should be the parent. We should empower parents. They should decide--private school, parochial school, public school, charter school, home school.

Why should a government bureaucrat be sending 168,000 children to failing schools when parents think they can do better for their children?

Source: 2007 GOP primary debate in Orlando, Florida Oct 21, 2007

Rudy Giuliani: NYC public school system dysfunctional & should be blown up

Q: You said that the NYC school system was “no good and beyond redemption”; that it was “dysfunctional and should be blown up.” A lot of teachers, frankly, hated you, sir. The No Child Bill has already alienated a lot of the nation’s teachers. Why are you the person to bring them back in the fold and how would you do it?

A: What we need is choice.

Q: That’s going to bring back public school teachers?

Q: Well, I love teachers. But I really care about the kids more.

Source: 2007 GOP primary debate in Orlando, Florida Oct 21, 2007

Marco Rubio: Voted for more scholarships for private schools

Rubio voted YES on HB7145, Private School Scholarship Program Expansion Act (passed House 84-34):
Source: Florida state legislative voting records Apr 30, 2007

Marco Rubio: Incentivize foreign language curriculum in elementary school

Source: 100 Innovative Ideas for Florida's Future by Marco Rubio Nov 1, 2006

Marco Rubio: Prepare students for the Global Marketplace

Source: 100 Innovative Ideas for Florida's Future by Marco Rubio Nov 1, 2006

Marco Rubio: More options for student and parent choice in education

Source: 100 Innovative Ideas for Florida's Future by Marco Rubio Nov 1, 2006

Jeb Bush: Voluntary universal Pre-K: fund 9,600 pre-school teachers

In this country true opportunity starts with education. This year marks the 50th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education, a landmark case that guaranteed equal access to education. Today, Florida is closer to fulfilling the promise of Brown v. Board than ever before, because the Legislature had the will to pass sweeping education reforms and demand more for our children.

Next year, we'll add voluntary universal Pre-K, and I urge you to provide the resources we need to train 9,600 pre-school professionals this year, and to create the framework for a comprehensive high-quality program focused on critical early literacy skills. As we increase the number of children ready to learn when they enter kindergarten, we decrease the number who will struggle, be retained, and require remedial help in higher grades.

Source: 2004 State of the State speech to the Florida Legislature Mar 2, 2004

Jeb Bush: A+ Plan: Make "F" schools disappear; make more "A" schools

There were 78 "F" schools in 1999. They illustrate the sad consequence of low expectations and little accountability. They were 78 sites that held the buried potential of thousands of our schoolchildren.

But look what happens to the "F" schools in the two years since we implemented the A+ Plan. They are gone. They have disappeared.

In 1999, only 21% of our schools were high-performing "A" and "B" schools. Now there are twice as many high-performing schools, 41% in all. With the A+ Plan, we have nearly doubled the number of high-performing schools in Florida. We have provided a first-rate education for hundreds of thousands more students.

To help build on the successes of the A+ Plan, we must continue to increase funding for our schools. This includes--in the K-12 system--an 18 percent, $2 billion increase in student funding for Florida's public schools over the last three years. We should continue this trend, and so this year I am proposing we greatly increase total K-20 funding.

Source: State of the State address to 2002 Florida Legislature Jan 22, 2002

Jeb Bush: Push for gains among minority and disadvantaged students

With the A+ Plan, we have nearly doubled the number of high-performing schools in Florida. And better still, we have made some of our greatest gains among minority and disadvantaged students. Last year's average gains on the FCAT for grades 8 and 10 in math were higher for African-American and Hispanic students. Let me be clear, we still have a long way to go, and the achievement gap between ethnic groups is still too large, as it is across the nation. But these results demonstrate that we can make progress, and we must keep our commitment to leave no child behind. We are beginning to win this fight.

But now is not the time to grow complacent. School grades will now measure the annual learning gains of students, which was part of the original vision of the A+ Plan. Now, in addition to tougher standards in reading and math, schools will be held accountable as well as rewarded for the progress of their lowest performing students. We must continue to push the envelope.

Source: State of the State address to 2002 Florida Legislature Jan 22, 2002

Jeb Bush: Social promotion doesn't do our kids any favors

We must conclusively address the issue of social promotion so that we once and for all eliminate the practice of advancing students because of their age rather than their knowledge. The A+ Plan sought to eliminate social promotion, but many of Florida's school districts have failed to comply with the intent of the law. We aren't doing our kids any favors when we challenge them with advanced material before they've mastered the basics.

I propose we give the social promotion language some teeth so that school districts won't give up on teaching our kids how to read. The best solution, of course, is to remediate struggling readers during the school year, to get them the extra help they need to stay on track. But for school districts that continue to circumvent the intent of the law, there should be consequences, perhaps including the withholding of administrative funds.

Source: State of the State address to 2002 Florida Legislature Jan 22, 2002

Hillary Clinton: Solemn vow never to abandon our public schools

Since 1983, I have been a vigorous advocate of reforming & fixing schools that do not work. I have seen that we do know how to turn around failing schools. What we have too often lacked is the staying power & the will to deliver on what we know would make a difference. But if we are to make that difference, then we have to make a solemn vow never to abandon our public schools or the children who attend them, but to instead redouble our efforts to pursue strategies that we know can make a difference.
Source: Remarks to NEA in Orlando, Florida Jul 5, 1999

Hillary Clinton: Hold kids to high standards, starting at home

First and foremost, we have to expect every single child to succeed and we have to hold every one of them to high academic standards. There should be no exceptions, no excuses, to our solemn commitment that every child can learn; every child deserves to be challenged, to have their imaginations sparked. That is not just the task in our schools; it has to start in our homes with parents and family members who value education.
Source: Remarks to NEA in Orlando, Florida Jul 5, 1999

Hillary Clinton: Address teacher shortage with salary increases

We’re facing a critical teacher shortage-we’re going to have to recruit more teachers. But I agree with the NEA president that there’s not only a teacher shortage, there’s a respect shortage and a salary shortage as well. There is no way in today’s complicated, information-overdrive world that we’re going to get and keep those in the teaching profession to carry on the tradition of public education, unless [they] receive the salaries that [their] important work deserves. We’re going to have to recruit more teachers. I agree with the President’s proposal that we expand the already successful Troops to Teachers program. We should also provide loan forgiveness to new teachers committed to teaching in hard-to-serve areas. But we cannot lower the standards in this recruitment drive, and I am very much in agreement with the proposal that states be required to phase out emergency certification and improve state teacher certification systems.
Source: Remarks to NEA in Orlando, Florida Jul 5, 1999

Hillary Clinton: Teachers need more peer consulting & more recognition

1 out of 3 new teachers leaves the first year, and in some urban areas it’s 1 out of 2. We’ve got to make sure that our newly minted teachers teach in fields that they are prepared in; and that we not give the toughest assignments to such young teachers. We also have to provide quality, ongoing professional development. And teachers need the time to prepare their courses, consult with their peers about the strategies that work, and be recognized & rewarded for your knowledge and your skills.
Source: Remarks to NEA in Orlando, Florida Jul 5, 1999

Hillary Clinton: Social promotion cheats our children

[We should] call for an end to social promotion. We really do cheat our children if we continue to promote them to the next grade if they don’t have the necessary skills and knowledge to do the work required. We do them a terrible disservice if we set the bar of achievement higher and then we don’t provide the help and resources needed to enable them to catch up. We’ve got to do more to give every child the chance to reach the pride of accomplishment.
Source: Remarks to NEA in Orlando, Florida Jul 5, 1999

Hillary Clinton: More after-school; smaller classes

We need extended learning time. We need after-school and summer programs. We need smaller classroom sizes. Reducing class size is one of the most critical investments we can make, not only in our children’s future, but in our teachers’ ability to succeed. Too many teachers have to spend more time keeping order, dealing with personal problems, trying to understand what one child out of 30 or 35 needs, than maintaining high academic standards for the entire classroom.
Source: Remarks to NEA in Orlando, Florida Jul 5, 1999

Hillary Clinton: Reduce size of schools; and modernize

We have to do more about the sizes of some of our schools-they have gotten too big and there are too many children who feel anonymous from the start of the school year to the end of it. We need to bring down the size of our schools, especially in areas where there are a lot of other problems that have to be addressed. We need to do more with the schools within schools idea. And we have to provide more funds to modernize crumbling schools, and build more schools where schools are needed.
Source: Remarks to NEA in Orlando, Florida Jul 5, 1999

Hillary Clinton: Read to young kids 20-30 minutes daily

The early years of development are critical to successful learning later on. A parent is a child’s first teacher. If family members would read to their children just 20 or 30 minutes a day, it would literally revolutionize American education. And stand with me in pushing for universal access to quality, affordable preschool programs for every child. And that includes Head Start, home visitations, high quality child care, early Head Start-whatever it takes to be well-prepared for school.
Source: Remarks to NEA in Orlando, Florida Jul 5, 1999

Hillary Clinton: Entire school staff should focus on school safety

Too many children bring guns to school, too many children believe that violence & aggression is the way to solve problems. Teachers & principals need help. Everyone who works in a school-from the custodians, or the counselors, or the teacher’s aids- everyone needs help in knowing how to target those children who need extra help & make sure they get it; to diffuse difficult situations; to provide cooling off periods; and to remove from schools those students who are disrupting the learning of others.
Source: Remarks to NEA in Orlando, Florida Jul 5, 1999

Hillary Clinton: Vouchers will not improve our public schools

I know there are some who believe that vouchers are the way to improve our public schools; I believe they are dead wrong. There is simply no evidence that vouchers improve student achievement. We’ve been experimenting with vouchers in some jurisdictions for a couple of years-we’ve found no evidence that these have made any difference in student achievement. But what they have done is to divert much-needed public funds for the few and have weakened the entire system.
Source: Remarks to NEA in Orlando, Florida Jul 5, 1999

Hillary Clinton: Let’s build up our schools-not tear them down

We know a lot more today than we knew five or, certainly, 10 years ago about what we need to do to marshal the resources to make every school that successful. So let’s build up our schools-not tear them down. And let’s make sure that everyone has the same goal in mind-to make our public schools and our public school students the best in the entire world.
Source: Remarks to NEA in Orlando, Florida Jul 5, 1999

Hillary Clinton: Charter schools provide choice within public system

I stand behind the charter school/public school movement, because parents do deserve greater choice within the public school system to meet the unique needs of their children. Slowly but surely, we’re beginning to create schooling opportunities through the public school charter system-raising academic standards, empowering educators. When we look back on the 1990s, we will see that the charter school movement will be one of the ways we will have turned around the entire public school system.
Source: Remarks to NEA in Orlando, Florida Jul 5, 1999

Jeb Bush: More funding for schools; merit pay for teachers

Source: 1998 Florida National Political Awareness Test Jul 2, 1998

Jeb Bush: Focus on abstinence; end social promotion

Source: 1998 Florida National Political Awareness Test Jul 2, 1998

Jeb Bush: Supports charter schools & vouchers

Source: 1998 Florida National Political Awareness Test Jul 2, 1998

  • The above quotations are from State of Florida Politicians: Archives.
  • Click here for definitions & background information on Education.
  • Click here for other issues (main summary page).
2012 Presidential contenders on Education:
  Democrats:
Pres.Barack Obama(IL)
V.P.Joe Biden(DE)

Republicans:
Gov.Mitt Romney(MA)
Rep.Paul Ryan(WI)
Third Parties:
Green: Dr.Jill Stein(MA)
Libertarian: Gov.Gary Johnson(NM)
Justice: Mayor Rocky Anderson(UT)
Constitution: Rep.Virgil Goode(VA)
Peace+Freedom: Roseanne Barr(HI)
Reform Party: André Barnett(NY)
AmericansElect: Gov.Buddy Roemer(LA)
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Page last updated: Dec 16, 2013