Don't assume Rick Scott's education plan is a done deal, key House leader says
Gov.-elect Rick Scott's comments about giving school vouchers to any Florida family that wants one has drawn heated criticism from observers who say he and the Republicans aim to destroy public education as we know it. (Check out this Mother Jones article as but one example.)
House Speaker Pro Tem John Legg warns that people shouldn't consider the idea a fait accompli just because the newly elected governor put it out there and some people (including high profile ones like state Sen. John Thrasher) have talked favorably about it.
"He's talking such at a broad level at this point," Legg said. He offered three key questions he said the House will be looking for in every education proposal that arises in the next session, and suggested that this idea has yet to meet all the marks.
- Does it increase parental choice? A clear yes, Legg said.
- Does it have high standards and high accountability? "That's a question that has yet to be determined."
- Does it increase quality of instruction, learning, etc.? "His general concept falls underneath that, but to say it's the panacea for education, it's a little premature."
Legg also noted that the state Supreme Court guidelines set forth in Holmes v. Bush also must be met, something Scott's people have said they think they can work around.
"I've learned to take all special interest proposals with a grain of salt," Legg said. "Obviously (former) governor Bush is behind them. But the bottom line is, they don't write legislation."