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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Conservative education reform group calls Rick Scott's plan "tame"



Florida Gov. Rick Scott has received lots of attention, much of it positive, for his education plans for the coming year.

Not everyone is impressed, though. And some of the criticism is coming from the true believers of education "reform."

Joy Pullman, managing editor of the Heartland Institute's School Reform News, is quoted in the conservative Daily Caller as deeming Scott's proposals on charter school expansion, debit cards for teachers and so forth "tame."

"Gov. Scott has released a comparatively tame education agenda, which reflects the vitriolic backlash he’s faced from the education establishment, and possibly a bit of 'reform exhaustion' in a state that has made continual, serious education changes across the past 15 years," she wrote in an e-mail to The Daily Caller News Foundation.

She did acknowledge Florida's role in the past as a leader in the movement.

"It’s noteworthy that as states across the country seek to emulate Florida education policies — more school choice, test-based accountability, providing parents and taxpayers more and better information, focusing on early readers — Gov. Scott seems interested in taking a breather," she said.

Other "reform" organizations have also commented that Florida is no longer the national leader in education reform, giving nods to states such as Indiana instead. Former governor Jeb Bush has continued to press the Florida model, though, convincing several states to adopt Florida's school grading system, third-grade retention program and other initiatives. Even GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney has talked about taking Jeb Bush's ideas federal.

Is Florida taking a step back? Will the selection of a new commissioner propel the state back into the fray? Will developing conversations with the Florida Education Association further moderate Scott's positions? What do you see happening next?

[Last modified: Wednesday, October 31, 2012 9:33am]


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