All eyes on education at the Capitol
This morning Republicans pushed a big idea for state education. Around lunchtime, Democrats pushed a big idea for state education. Both groups said the effort was key to turning around the economy.
From there, the road divides.
Standing in the Capitol's fourth-floor rotunda, Republicans led by House Majority Leader Adam Hasner, R-Delray Beach, announced legislation to raise the state's high school graduation standards.
Hasner explained that in order to transform Florida's economy, we need a competitive workforce. And a key ingredient in that competitive workforce is a "high-quality education." Asked about the cost of adding more courses in core subjects of math and science to meet these standards, House sponsor Erik Fresen, R-Miami, said they anticipate no additional costs because these subjects are already offered.
Fast forward about three hours and you had Democrats appearing at the Florida Education Association to press Miami Rep. Dwight Bullard's proposal to add a penny to the state sales tax for three years with the revenue going to public education at all levels.
House co-sponsor Ronald Brise of North Miami explained: "The only way that we get out of where we are today is by ensuring that we have a quality work force that can compete around the world, and the only way we do that is by reinforcing our education system here in the state of Florida."
Asked about the contrast in approaches, Bullard said: "We can’t have the conversation about increased standards and not begin to address the issues of increasing the funding, of providing revenues that will help alleviate the burdens of teachers, administrators, school boards, school systems, etc."