Point of View: Parents are fighting the takeover of public schools
TIMES UNION Sun, Mar 11, 2012
Instead of “Parent Trigger,” maybe we should call it the “Paranoia Trigger.”
The proponents of this divisive bill certainly have thin skin. Over a half-million Florida parents opposed the “Parent Empowerment Act” and suddenly we’re “affiliates” of the union.
We’re talking the Florida PTA, League of Women Voters, three moms with laptops and kids to raise — real subversives.
If expensive lobbyists who have been hired to pass this bill are accusing Florida parents of defending our neighborhood public schools — then we say, “guilty as charged.” We love our children and the children of this state more than ourselves.
We believe in a single well-funded system of public education that offers remarkable choices.
We believe in fair assessment and fair accountability.
We believe that mutual respect and collaboration between teachers, parents and districts is the key to rescuing vibrant public schools from a punitive, profit-driven “success is never final and reform is never finished” agenda.
Unlimited time for lobbyists
We are frustrated that for the third time in a week, a real Florida parent testifying against “Parent Empowerment” was cut off after less than 15 seconds.
We represent over a half-million Florida parents.
When politicians grant highly paid professional lobbyists unlimited time to testify and refuse to let us speak, it makes us furious. We are Florida taxpayers, parents and voters.
If we don’t have a right to speak during “Parent Empowerment” testimony, who does? We are tired of being told by wide-eyed politicians that they have never heard from us. Our position on the Parent Trigger has been repeatedly and widely published by every major newspaper across the state.
Not one legitimate Florida parent group has asked for this Parent Trigger/Parent Empowerment legislation.
We do not support this corporate empowerment bill that uses a parent’s love to “pull the trigger” and pass all that they hold dear into the hands of a for-profit corporation eager for every child’s per pupil funding dollars for themselves.
We will not be silent while our legislators use our money to fund three separate, unequal and unfair systems of education. We do not support laws that benefit 10 percent of the schools while the other 90 percent suffer.
This is real. This has gone too far.
Florida Public Education is a process not a product. This asset was created for and funded by the people of this state. It belongs to us. We will not apologize to anybody for defending our schools. We oppose the Parent Empowerment Act and its bad-faith intentions to privatize our public schools.
Note: FundEducationNow.org, Florida PTA, Save Duval Schools, 50th No More, Marions United for Public Education, Support Dade Schools, Parents Across America, Testing is Not Teaching, Citizens for Strong Schools all signed a joint statement opposing SB 1718, “Parent Empowerment Act.”