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Gradebook

Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

'I've seen firsthand how education puts the American dream within reach'

10

January

rick_scott_sos.From Gov. Rick Scott's State of the State address this morning before the Florida Legislature (full remarks here): WHILE LOWERING TAXES AND ELIMINATING UNNECESSARY REGULATIONS ARE CRITICAL, THE BEDROCK OF ANY SOUND, SUSTAINABLE ECONOMY IS AN EDUCATED WORKFORCE WELL EQUIPPED TO MEET THE CHALLENGES OF AN ADVANCED GLOBAL MARKETPLACE.

IN MY OWN LIFE I’VE SEEN FIRSTHAND HOW EDUCATION PUTS THE AMERICAN DREAM WITHIN REACH.  I GREW UP POOR.  AS A KID I DELIVERED NEWSPAPERS FOR $5 A WEEK.  WHEN I WASN’T DELIVERING PAPERS, I WAS SELLING TV GUIDES FOR 4 CENTS PROFIT A COPY AND FLIPPING HAMBURGERS FOR 85 CENTS AN HOUR.

TODAY I STAND BEFORE YOU PRIVILEGED TO BE THE GOVERNOR OF THE GREATEST STATE IN THE GREATEST NATION.  THIS IS THE AMERICAN DREAM; IT’S A STORY RE-TOLD A THOUSAND TIMES WITH EACH SUCCESSIVE GENERATION; AND THE MEANS BY WHICH IT IS ACCOMPLISHED IS AN EFFECTIVE AND ACCOUNTABLE SYSTEM OF EDUCATION.

WE CAN HAVE GREAT WEATHER, BEAUTIFUL BEACHES, AND A WONDERFULLY STRATEGIC LOCATION, BUT IF FLORIDA DOESN’T PROVIDE THE INTELLECTUAL TALENT TO MAKE OUR BUSINESSES COMPETITIVE, WE WILL BECOME A FOOTNOTE WHEN THIS CENTURY’S HISTORY IS WRITTEN.  BUT, IF WE CAN CONTINUE TO CREATE A CULTURE OF EXCELLENCE IN OUR SCHOOLS, FLORIDA WILL MERIT A FULL CHAPTER IN THAT HISTORY THAT DESCRIBES THE REAWAKENING OF A MIGHTY, PROSPEROUS NATION. 
WE CAN DO THIS. 
 
AND WE BEGIN TO DO THIS BY BUILDING ON THE SUCCESSES OF LAST SESSION WHEN WE INCREASED SCHOOL CHOICES FOR FLORIDA’S PARENTS.  WE ALSO REFOCUSED AN OUTDATED TENURE SYSTEM INTO A SYSTEM THAT CAN REWARD ITS BEST PERFORMERS FOR EXCELLING IN EDUCATING OUR STUDENTS. 
 
AS YOU KNOW, NONE OF THIS WAS PARTICULARLY EASY, BUT ALL OF IT WAS OBVIOUSLY NECESSARY IF WE’RE TO GIVE OUR CHILDREN THEIR CHANCE TO GRASP THE FUTURE.  THANK YOU FOR YOUR WILLINGNESS TO CONFRONT THESE ISSUES.
 
I HAVE SPENT THE PAST TWO YEARS TRAVELING THE STATE AND LISTENING TO FLORIDIANS ABOUT THEIR VISIONS FOR THE FUTURE.  I WOULD LIKE TO TAKE A MOMENT TO RECOGNIZE ONE OF FLORIDA’S TALENTED, HARDWORKING EDUCATORS WHO HAS TAUGHT ME A GREAT DEAL ABOUT THE BRIGHT FUTURES OF OUR STUDENTS AND OUR STATE.
 
HEATHER VINIAR IS HERE WITH US TODAY IN THE GALLERY.  HEATHER IS A FIRST YEAR TEACHER IN THE RURAL FARMING COMMUNITY OF IMMOKALEE. I HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO MEET HER WHEN I TAUGHT SCHOOL FOR A DAY THIS FALL.  HEATHER IS VERY COMMITTED TO HER STUDENTS. SHE TEACHES AMERICAN GOVERNMENT AT IMMOKALEE HIGH SCHOOL.  HER CLASSES REACH ALL KINDS OF OUR STUDENTS INCLUDING HONORS, ADVANCED PLACEMENT AND ENGLISH LANGUAGE LEARNERS EVERY DAY. 
 
AND, JUST AS ALL OF US HAVE HOPES AND DREAMS FOR THE FUTURE, SO DO HER STUDENTS. THE STUDENTS I SPOKE TO WANTED TO DO EVERYTHING FROM BEING A CHEF, TO A TEACHER, TO A VET, A HAIR DRESSER, A DOCTOR, A LAWYER, OR TO OWN A SMALL SHOP OR STORE.  EDUCATORS LIKE HEATHER, THESE STUDENTS AND THEIR DREAMS ARE WHAT WILL DRIVE THE FUTURE PROSPERITY OF OUR STATE. 
 
THANK YOU, HEATHER.  OUR FUTURE CERTAINLY IS BRIGHT. 
 
AFTER TRAVELING THE STATE AND LISTENING TO PARENTS, TEACHERS LIKE HEATHER, AND OUR STUDENTS, I HEARD ONE THING VERY CLEARLY, OVER AND OVER.  FLORIDIANS TRULY BELIEVE THAT SUPPORT FOR EDUCATION IS THE MOST SIGNIFICANT THING WE CAN DO TO ENSURE BOTH SHORT-TERM JOB GROWTH AND LONG-TERM ECONOMIC PROSPERITY FOR OUR STATE.  AND YOU KNOW WHAT?  THEY ARE RIGHT!
 
THAT’S WHY THIS SESSION I ASK YOU TO CONTINUE YOUR COMMITMENT TO EDUCATION—TO ENSURE THAT THE DIFFICULT DECISIONS WE MUST MAKE ON THE BUDGET ARE FOCUSED ON PRIORITIZING THE THINGS WE ALL KNOW ARE ESSENTIAL TO THE FUTURE OF OUR GREAT STATE. 
 
MY RECOMMENDED BUDGET INCLUDES $1 BILLION IN NEW STATE FUNDING FOR EDUCATION.
 
AND I ASK YOU TO PLEASE CONSIDER THAT RECOMMENDATION VERY CAREFULLY.
ON THIS POINT, I JUST CANNOT BUDGE.  I ASK YOU AGAIN TODAY TO SEND ME A BUDGET THAT SIGNIFICANTLY INCREASES STATE FUNDING FOR EDUCATION.  THIS IS THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT DECISION WE CAN MAKE TODAY FOR FLORIDA’S FUTURE.
 
BUT, OUR EFFORTS ON EDUCATION CANNOT END HERE. FLORIDA HAS A RICH CULTURAL HISTORY SURROUNDING ITS COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES.  DON’T TAKE MY WORD FOR IT.  ASK ANY ANTHROPOLOGIST. 
 
BUT WE NEED TO BE REALISTS ABOUT THIS.  SOMEWHERE OUT THERE TODAY, THERE ARE GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS MEETING IN BRAZIL, OR INDIA, OR CHINA, AND THEY’RE NOT DEBATING ABOUT WHETHER THEY SHOULD PROVIDE STUDENTS WITH THE PRAGMATIC KNOWLEDGE TO SEIZE A LARGER PIECE OF THE GLOBAL ECONOMY.  NO, THE ONLY DEBATE THEY ARE HAVING IS ABOUT HOW QUICKLY THEY CAN BECOME THE DOMINANT GLOBAL PLAYERS. 
 
I LOOK FORWARD TO WORKING WITH YOU TO CLOSELY LOOK AT OUR HIGHER EDUCATION SYSTEM; TO UNDERSTAND HOW WE CAN ENSURE THAT IN THE FUTURE, JOB CREATORS FROM AROUND THE WORLD WILL HAVE TO LOOK TO FLORIDA TO FIND THE TALENTED AND EDUCATED WORKFORCE THEY WILL NEED TO COMPETE IN THE 21ST CENTURY.

(Tampa Bay Times photo by Scott Keeler.)

[Last modified: Tuesday, January 10, 2012 1:23pm]

    

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