After failing to show up at the three-day education summit he convened in Clearwater this week, Gov. Rick Scott held a private meeting in Miami Thursday night to discuss the future of Florida’s schools.
The guest list: former Gov. Jeb Bush, state Sen. John Thrasher and state Board of Education Chairman Gary Chartrand.
The dinnertime meeting was cloaked in extraordinary secrecy. Scott’s schedule did not list a location other than “Miami, FL,” and his chief spokeswoman, Melissa Sellers, couldn’t provide any other details.
That infuriated parent activists, who said Scott shouldn’t have called three dozen education leaders to Clearwater if he intended to make decisions with a small group of advisers out of the public eye.
“This is how education reform gets done in Florida,” said Rita Solnet, founder of the advocacy group Parents Across America. “The summit was a façade. The real decisions have always been made by Jeb Bush.”
Bush, who has played a dominating role in determining Florida’s education policy for nearly two decades, declined comment through a spokeswoman. Chartrand and Thrasher did not return calls from The Herald/Times.
The Scott/Bush huddle comes at a time when Scott must make several key decisions about Florida’s public education system.