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Bullard blasts Gov. Scott's education summit


State Senator Dwight Bullard had some harsh words for Gov. Rick Scott’s education summit, which is entering its second day in Clearwater.

"In the convening of this most recent education summit, Gov. Scott, [interim Education] Commissioner [Pam] Stewart and others will once again miss the opportunity to properly serve the students of Florida,” Bullard wrote in a statement Tuesday. "This missed opportunity stems from the 800-pound gorilla in the room -- admitting you've adopted bad policies."

Bullard, a Miami Democrat who sits on the Senate Education Committee, has been a vocal critic of many state education policies, ranging from the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Tests to performance-based pay for teachers. 

"In order to get it right you have to recognize where you went wrong," Bullard wrote. "Over testing, misdirection of dollars, failure to listen to stakeholder input, and countless other misfires that have now muddied the water of education. Clean up the mess and start from a good place in which all ideas are weighed on the value of their merit and not the size of their checkbook or political affiliation."

Bullard also criticized Scott for inviting a disproportionate number of white men to the summit.

Other lawmakers, however, have praised Scott's education summit, including Senate President Don Gaetz and Senate Education Committee Chairman John Legg.

“Governor Scott should be commended for elevating the conversation on education in the State of Florida,” Legg wrote in a statement last week. “It is of utmost importance to convene the stakeholders to create a comprehensive strategy and I am honored to take part."

Gaetz said the summit would "provide the leaders of our Senate committees on education and education appropriations the opportunity to collect various perspectives and ideas."

He added: "The Senate looks forward to working with the Governor to build on the gains Florida’s public education system has made over more than a decade and we appreciate the opportunity to have a seat at the table for this significant event."


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Why do blacks insist on making everything about race? Didn't MLKjr say, "I hope one day my children will be judged by the content of their character and not the color of their skin"?


There has been entirely too much monkeying around with state education policy. Jeb erected a modest little evergreen, the school grading system, and ever since, Republican legislators have over-decorated it in a bizarre, gaudy thing that looks like a grotesque parody of a Christmas tree. Most of this has been done simply so some legislators can go home and tell voters they have "legislated" education improvements. The tree has become top heavy with decoration and is now falling down. And those elements in the system who care more for their jobs than for the kids learning what they need to learn are now using the Republicans' overreach to destroy what was originally and still can be a modest little tree.

Susan Smith

I attended the summit yesterday (I'm a white female) and had the same thoughts as the "black" legislator. We are a diverse state and it's about time Republican leadership acknowledged it. In a summit with nearly 40 participants, my best count was 11 women, three African Americans and three Hispanics. That's pathetic.

Mark Halpert

Senator Bullard is spot on.

This summit was designed to reaffirm most policies and to open the door to options to the PARCC Assessments -- they can and will accomplish their objectives

The Hispanic, African-American and Students with Disabilities Communities have a legitimate issue. The State of Florida committed to taking actions to cut in half the difference between these sub-groups performance and their peers The Common Core Assessments are likely to explode the number of "failing schools" and they will disproportionately impact at-risk students.

There needs to be added focus on helping our most at-risk kids succeed with new and innovative approaches -- and for that discussion we need very different people in the room.

Sean O'Neal

Because they make it all about race! Have you ever looked at how they break out the testing reports? It should not matter if you come from "low-income", or if you are white, black hispanic, white-hispanic, black-hispanic, asiaian or anything else. In education they always are racist in most everything they do.

If you want to complain about something constructive complain that the parents/taxpayers are NOT being represented at this Summit.

Complain and demand for fair and impartial representation and NOT cronyism. Pam Stewart, members of the State Board of Education and legislators who are also serving on the Jeb Bush Foundation should remove themselves and be told by the governor to remove themselves from the Foundation.

The whole country knows legislatively we are not being represented by those who are being paid to but by Jeb Bush and these people taking orders from the Foundation.

Get upset about the truly wrong things regarding education - lack of representation by the cronyism in Tally. Or maybe the fact the Miami-Dade Superintendent of schools applied for and received $$ from RTTT to hire 350 additional rotten, non-educated properly in education Teach for America Teachers.

Sean O'Neal

Bullard also criticized Scott for inviting a disproportionate number of white men to the summit.
(I am white and I consider the fact that the majority are white, non-black or hispanic or asian for that matter and they are LEGISLATORS. They already have their marching orders and are not going to change their minds when it comes to the education of our children.

Good, we can answer them all at the ballot box in 2014.

Other lawmakers, however, have praised Scott's education summit, including Senate President Don Gaetz and Senate Education Committee Chairman John Legg.

(What else would you expect them to say! Not one of them thinks individually or has a single thought that is original. Just think - Don Gaetz thinks he is kool and bright because he is the only school superintendent in the state who has never taught school. He likes being a businessman and there in lies our problem - Money, Power & Control).

Emerson Gravely

Why is Gaetz talking about convening the stakeholders when they systematically avoid and eliminate and ignore the stakeholders at ever opportunity. This is just another Republican convention.

Deviled Egg

Did Legg really say it was important to convene the stakeholders? Since the stakeholders would be the ones with something at stake, I take that to mean parents - on behalf of their minor children, teachers and principals.

Silly me, my agenda must be different. I just want a quality education for my children, devoid of mind-numbing, irrelevant high stakes testing. I just want an education for my children that teaches them HOW to think so they can pass any test of meaningful material, not WHAT to think so they can pass a secret, meaningless test, contrived to fail a majority of students, contrived to fail their teachers so the "stakeholders" can replace them with eager inexperienced TFA resumé scabs in our neediest schools, to "teach" our most vulnerable children.

As it is, by stakeholders, Gaetz and Legg must mean the ones who stand to lose out if we shine too bright a light on this PR stunt called the "historic summit".

Shameful. Voters need to remember this next year. Bully for Dwight Bullard.

Gaetz, Legg, Scott? Just plain bullies. Everyone knows bullies are really just cowards in blowhards' clothing.


Dear Senator Legg,

Re: http://miamiherald.typepad.com/nakedpolitics/2013/08/bullard-blasts-gov-

Regarding public education, please define "stakeholders" as you see it.

In this context, I take it that you do not see teachers or parents, on behalf of their minor children, as stakeholders. WHO, if not parents and teachers, could possibly qualify as more of a stakeholder in all matters of public education?

May I assume then, Sir, that the absence of parents and teachers on your grocery list of stakeholders, leaves only your cronies, your campaign supporters, the corporate shills with their hands in the deep well of public education funds? The well is deep, as long as it is supporting Pearson, Koch subsidiaries, Microsoft, ALEC loyalists, and on and on. However, if funding classroom materials, textbooks, teachers' cost of living raises, the funds are miraculously scarce.

Perhaps this is simplistic. Perhaps I'm assuming too much. However, in this instance, as to who the stakeholders in public education really are, you were either misquoted, or you misspoke. So, respectfully Sir, which is it? Because it's difficult for me to believe that you would categorize only those who were privileged enough to have been invited as a fair representation of Florida's stakeholders in public education.

You should be aware: http://thenewamerican.com/culture/education/item/16428-common-core-national-education-outrages-teacher-coalition

Our numbers are growing daily, and we vote.

Yours in education,

Sandy Stenoff
Parent/Education Activist
100% in support of our BATs all across this nation and beyond

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