Give us 15 minutes
In a press conference this morning in Orlando, critics of the state’s proposed new science standards again expressed their dissatisfaction with the public input process and asked for 15 minutes to address the Board of Education next week before the board’s scheduled vote. They promised to “bombard” Gov. Charlie Crist and other state officials with thousands of requests until the board says okay.
“We realize the SBOE members are volunteers and we are grateful for their time and service,” said John Stemberger (left), president and general counsel for the Florida Family Policy Counsel, which supports Biblical family values. “But they also have a responsibility, and they need to take that responsibility seriously, face the public directly and not run and hide when an issue of serious concern or controversy arises.”
The Department of Education has held four public hearings on the standards, with a fifth now under way this morning in Orlando. But the board has not heard from the public directly, and announced last week that it would not be taking public comment at the Feb. 19 meeting in Tallahassee.
Also today, opponents again raised the possibility of legislative intervention. “If the board needs direction, we need to give ‘em direction,” said former state Rep. Dennis Baxley, now executive director of the Christian Coalition of Florida, who attended the press conference. “That’s the next step,” he continued. “It’s ‘We the People.’ ”
- Ron Matus, state education reporter