Gradebook podcast: A Democratic approach to Florida education, with Rep. Anna Eskamani

The freshman legislator aims to collaborate when possible, without giving up the fight against what she sees as privatizing public education.
Rep. Anna Eskamani, D-Orlando, offers a progressive voice on the Florida House PreK-12 Quality committee. [The Florida House]
Rep. Anna Eskamani, D-Orlando, offers a progressive voice on the Florida House PreK-12 Quality committee. [The Florida House]
Published March 14

In the Florida Legislature, education issues have been some of the most high profile, impactful and controversial measures to move through the halls, year after year. Yet the voices of opposition to the leadership plans frequently get sidelined, regardless of party.

That leaves it to a new wave of lawmakers to step up to the task, fighting the continuing effort to expand vouchers and scholarships, grow the charter school system and offer more school choice in a manner they see as potentially harmful to the district public schools.

Rep. Anna Eskamani, D-Orlando, is among the newest voices in the debate. She didn’t plan to make education a top priority — she didn’t even ask to be on any of the committees. But upon her arrival on the PreK-12 Quality subcommittee, the 28-year-old lawmaker quickly studied up and became one of the more vocal and articulate members who doesn’t agree with what she considers the move to privatize public education.

In her efforts, she seeks compromise when possible, without caving on key positions. She spoke with reporter Jeff Solochek about the variety of issues, from a proposed requirement for Bible courses in high schools to school safety, that she’s already had to weigh in on.

Related coverage: Florida Bible study bill wins approval in first House stop


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