No more games with class size, columnist urges
For eight years, Florida lawmakers have attempted to undo the 2002 class size amendment that voters approved.
They've been stymied at every turn, most recently when voters rejected an effort to amend the amendment.
Now lawmakers have a responsibility to make the mandate work rather than trying to subvert it, writes Orlando Sentinel columnist Mike Thomas, generally a supporter of the education change efforts proposed by the Republican-led Legislature:
"Legislators tried to help [Amendment 8] along by creating chaos. They demanded that schools meet hard caps in each classroom or face stiff fines. And then they didn't give them the money to do it. There were major disruptions. Kids were shuffled from class to class. There were threats of lawsuits to fight the fines. The entire focus of the school year became an obsession over numbers. This has to stop."
He points to the efforts of newly elected Sen. David Simmons to create a legislative fix, one supported by the teachers union that opposed another constitutional change, as a good place to start. We've been writing about these ideas since 2008, when Simmons first proposed them, and as recently as in our election post mortems.
Of course, these ideas are only as good as lawmakers let them be. Anyone ready to handicap the odds on a bill to make the class size amendment more manageable?