With the final week of session almost upon us and the fate of the dangerous school “choice” proposals still undecided, Michelle Rhee’s Step up for Students has engaged once again in the voucher battle here in Florida. Last year, Rhee’s organization rated Florida second on its report card of states based on voucher legislation and other anti-public school metrics, trailing only Louisiana. The criteria used by Rhee’s group was widely criticized by education organizations and those who evaluate school related issues.
Last session during the debate on Parent Trigger legislation Scathing Purple Musings reported that Rhee had helped provide Senator Kelli Stargel, perhaps the legislature’s leading proponent of school “choice” legislation a fake list of supporters of the legislation.
During the same week, The Miami Herald had reported that the group “Sunshine Parents” which was attributed for producing propaganda materials supporting the Parent Trigger legislation has in fact not produced anything of the sort. These materials had in actuality been produced by “Parent Revolution” a well-funded California group we had previously discussed at TFS. “Parent Revolution” was not a grassroots movement of parents but in fact a political organization funded by those who had sought to profit off the proposed legislation. “Sunshine Parents” per the Herald report had no online presence nor an organizational structure of any sort that was evident last session.
Now voucher supporters are back for the Senate fight next week potentially producing a similar campaign of deception and misinformation. Tonight, we received an email from Rhee’s “Students First” which Scathing Purple Musings theorizes may be a precursor to yet another faux campaign by well-funded school “choice” advocates.
Full email from Students First below:
Over the next week, the Florida legislature has an opportunity to change the lives of thousands of Florida’s neediest students. But it won’t happen without your help.
HB 7167 amends Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program, a program that gives low-income students scholarships so they can attend a great school. We support a version of the bill that:
- continues to prioritize low-income students
- increases the individual scholarship amount minimum
HB 875 provides parents and taxpayers with information on how well schools and districts are using their state dollars to increase student achievement. This information will be provided in an easy to understand format to increase transparency and accountability in Florida’s education system.
Needless to say, passage of these bills would be a huge win for Florida’s kids. That’s where you come in.
Over the next week, we will be pushing hard for these issues in Tallahassee. We are looking for people who have a personal interest in these two issues to join us in supporting the bill.
If you or someone you know would be interested in working with us to support this legislation in Tallahassee over the next week to advocate for students across the Sunshine State, please email StudentsFirst Field Coordinator Kelly Garcia at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for all you do on behalf of Florida’s students. With your continued efforts, we can give all kids the great education they deserve.
Kelly Garcia and the StudentsFirst FL team
Smells fishy doesn’t it? Of course we will be tracking the story closely at TFS over the weekend and early next week.