As we’ve discussed throughout this legislative session, House Democrats have heroically held the line in defense of public education. Three weeks ago, when the House passed its version of a dangerous school vouchers bill not a single Democrat in the lower chamber voted for it. As that bill made its way through the committee process, House Democrats, even some of those who had previously backed voucher measures, closed ranks to oppose the dangerous legislation.
Now it is the Senate’s turn, but unfortunately the bill has received the support of multiple Democrats as it has made its way through the committee process. From what we are hearing a handful of Senate Democrats are strongly leaning towards voting for the legislation. Last session, each of the Democrats that are considered questionable voted “no” on the parent trigger bill as did six Republicans.
After weeks of manufacturing artificial public support for the voucher legislation, the legislature is on the brink of passing something that the citizens of Florida have not been in the least bit interested in. Despite tens of millions of dollars being spent by pro-voucher corporate interests to move public opinion and influence legislation, school “choice” remains unpopular among Florida’s parents and educators.
Years of effort have failed to move the needle on public polling numbers. Vouchers have been rejected by and large in other states and in some parts of the country, Republicans have abandoned the issue completely.
Regarding the Senate Democrats in question, we certainly hope will come to their senses and emulate the strong and decisive statement made by the House Democrats. It is imperative that Democrats stay together in opposing this unprecedented expansion of vouchers.