BEST & BRIGHTEST. Looking ahead: The House Education Committee just buried an expansion of last session’s $44 million Best and Brightest teacher scholarship program into the unrelated House Bill 7042. This ill-conceived program pays educators $10,000 for their high-school SAT scores, favoring new hires over veterans. Incoming Speaker Richard Corcoran and original sponsor Rep. Erik Fresen sent it over to the Senate where John Legg filed Senate Bill 978, making Best and Brightest a single-issue bill, claiming the issue should be debated on its own merits. House leadership is hopping mad that the ruse was exposed. Don’t look for the Tallahassee bickering to simmer down anytime soon.
GUN VIOLENCE & PUBLIC HEALTH. Last week: For 20 years, legislation has blocked the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from researching the effects of gun violence on public health. Hours before the San Bernardino tragedy, 2,000 doctors petitioned lawmakers to lift the ban. It’s interesting that when it comes to guns, politicians pass laws to ban data collection, but when it comes to exploiting and monetizing student data, the sky’s the limit. After all, valuable student data is used to justify billions of dollars in no-bid vendor contracts. Unfortunately, stubborn hypocrisy and the absence of profit blocks the study of gun violence as a public-health issue.