Disconnect between Floridians and the education establishment on school choice
Bottom Line: I have two pet peeves that stand above all others and they both come together in this story. The first is that the government is there to work for us, not the other way around. That means that if majorities of us want changes within government entities, our employees in government should be responsive. Often that isn’t the case as their self-interest is often placed above ours – especially for the non-elected government factions. That leads me to the other pet peeve. Too many of us aren’t willing to hold our employees in government accountable to not being responsive to our needs.
For years I’ve pointed out how absurd it is that well over 80% of Americans want term limits for federal politicians yet few are willing to force the issue because we’re quick to say “it’ll never happen”. As long as you say it won’t happen, you’re right. School-Choice is a different version of a similar thing that thankfully we’ve made incremental progress on in Florida. Just as I find it offensive when our employees in government aren’t responsive to our interests, I find it offensive that many bureaucracies tax us, take our hard-earned money and then tell us how it’s going to be used. Nowhere is this more fundamentally off-base than with public education. I find it offensive and wrong that Floridians aren’t able to use their tax money towards the education they feel is best for their children rather than having bureaucrats draw maps and dictate what’s going to happen.
It turns out that most Floridians, when asked, agree. A new study from the Foundation for Excellence in Education surveying Floridians on school choice found that 78% believe that we should have the opportunity to choose where and how our children are educated rather than using addresses and bureaucratic maps. But this, not unlike the term limits issue, is where you have to be willing to stand up for what you believe in to get the job done. Every teacher’s union in the state of Florida opposes school choice.
The status quo will guarantee that nothing changes. There’s nothing more fundamentally important for future generations than this issue. There’s endless evidence that connects education, to outcomes. Teachers unions aren’t accountable to you and me. They're accountable to themselves and their constituents. They live in a world that guarantees above average pay, future pay raises, bonus opportunity, multiple months off per year and guaranteed pensions. Does that reflect the world that their constituents live in?
Let me ask you...
- Do you have multiple months off per year?
- Do you have near guaranteed annual raises?
- Do you have a guaranteed pension?
In other words, the teachers are happy with the unions because the unions have done a good job taking care of the teachers but where are you in this mix? The teacher's unions want the status quo because it works for them, regardless of if it services your interests and those of your kids. The window of opportunity we have over the next year as Governor DeSantis looks to remake the education establishment is an important one. If you want school choice as nearly 8 in ten of us do. Make it clear in this process. It’ll be needed to break through the resistance known as the teacher’s unions.