Senate Democrats cave on voucher expansion

Fifteen years almost to day since the Florida Senate passed the Jeb Bush pet project A+ plan that brought public funding of private schools into our state, the Senate today passed the largest expansion of vouchers in the state’s history. Unlike the Florida House, where Democrats stuck together despite an aggressive lobbying effort by voucher proponents and Republican legislators, in the Senate three Democrats abandoned public schools today.

Senators Jeremy Ring, Gwen Margolis and Darren Soto all crossed over and backed SB 1512 which passed 29-11. We’ve devoted much of our space during this session to this issue, walking through the history of failures related to voucher programs, the manufactured campaigns brought forward by voucher supporters, and the misrepresentation of just about every performance based measure related to this issue.

It is with a heavy heart that we witnessed today’s capitulation of three Senate Democrats and great opportunity that was squandered to protect public education in the state of Florida. Unlike other states where many Republicans have given up with experimentation with public money for private institutions, Florida continues to race forward with reckless voucher programs at a brisk pace.

We certainly hope that the voters of the state will consider this issue strongly when casting ballots in upcoming elections.

29 comments

  1. floridian · · Reply

    I am an education voter. I vote based solely on who protects traditional public schools. I will remember in November and make sure other Democrats know about this!!!!

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    1. Nan would have vetoed this in a heartbeat. What would Charlie have done. The silence is deafening.

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  2. Beat Rick Scott · · Reply

    Remember in November!!!!!

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    1. Barbie · · Reply

      With Jeb Bush’s education commissioner?

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    2. Remember in August.

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  3. Tyler · · Reply

    Totally unacceptable!

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  4. This is the second HUGE error that Darren Soto has made on education! I wonder what his excuse will be this time? Extremely disappointed in him. The other two I expected.

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  5. Dems need to try harder · · Reply

    Ring is a total tool.

    Arrogance personified. Thinks he knows it all and really knows zero.

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  6. Just sad.

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  7. Janice · · Reply

    This should remind us why we need principled progressives in office!

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  8. Primaries. Primaries. Primaries.

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  9. DISGUSTING!

    DARREN SOTO PLAYS PROGRESSIVE AT HOME AND STABS SCHOOL TEACHERS AND STUDENTS IN THE BACK IN TALLAHASSEE!!!!!

    PRIMARY HIM!

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  10. Larry · · Reply

    These three should be expelled from the caucus!

    All from safe D seats.

    If we don’t send an example on an issue like this then we will never be successful.

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  11. Lester · · Reply

    Anyone really surprised???

    I’m just thankful the House Ds stuck together on this.

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  12. Voter · · Reply

    Vote for public education and against this nonsense!!!

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  13. David Lutrin · · Reply

    Any Dem who crosses the line of sending any taxpayer money to any school that is not public, is not a democrat and needs to go. No excuses, just gone.

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  14. As a retired educator in Florida after 36 years…I have seen our good public schools in Palm Beach County, Florida and have seen the for-profit schools who make a profit by hiring less qualified teachers, having larger classes and over-using online education. I saw innovations in Glades public schools which I hoped to replicate in my own elementary school.
    As a very old Grey Panther…I am about to give up the fight and to just accept that the Waltons and others can buy our Democracy. After all, I will not live to see the consequences of votes like this.

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  15. Another session lost · · Reply

    This is why we need Charlie Crist…

    VETO PEN!

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    1. Crist supports vouchers.

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      1. Yep, this is what they don’t understand. They think that if someone have a “D” next to their name, they will magically support a progressive agenda. These three prove otherwise.

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    2. Crist is for sale. A vote for Crist is a vote for vouchers, privatization, and the destruction of the public school system. Wake up Democrats. Charlie is playing you for suckers.

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  16. The courts will have the final say on this.

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  17. Ernie · · Reply

    Crist vetoed a teacher tenure bill and has not said he supports vouchers anymore.

    He is anti-voucher.

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    1. He is also now pro-choice, anti-gun as well, right? We don’t know where the hell this guy is. Hell, he doesn’t know where the hell he is!

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      1. David Lutrin · ·

        He’ll know where stands after he takes a poll. He is the consumate politician.

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  18. Tyler · · Reply

    Ring should switch parties

    He votes wrong on every issue.

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  19. Nolebuck · · Reply

    pretty sure Ring and Margolis are term limited.
    Soto sucks. They need to primary his sorry ass! D party should drop support and not give him any money.

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  20. From Nan Rich:

    A bill to further expand Florida’s private school voucher program passed today. This allows the corporate voucher program to grow to over 3 billion dollars over the next five years. Those are our tax dollars taken out of public schools, and funneled into private schools. This bill was the wrong thing to do.

    Republican Governor Rick Scott expanded vouchers this year. Former Republican Governor Charlie Crist signed a multimillion dollar expansion of the voucher program. I led the opposition to vouchers when I served in the legislature, and I’ll protect public schools from another giveaway to special interests when I’m governor.

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  21. […] often been mentioned as a possibility for this seat. However, Soto’s voting record including a shocking final day of session vote for expansion of school “choice” means a Democratic Primary will be difficult for him. While the area is becoming more Hispanic, the […]

    Like

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