Crist and Scott Shouldn't Be Arguing over Education
Around the State
Both of the leading candidates for governor are hammering away at each other over education funding.
The question voters should ask: Why?
This is a non-issue, for two reasons.
Governors don't determine how much money education receives each year. Governors make recommendations, based on how much money the state has available.
The Florida Legislature has the sole authority to appropriate money and the state, unlike the federal government, cannot spend money it does not have.
When the state's revenues dropped, Scott recommended less funding for most state functions, including education. That was the responsible thing to do.
It also does not mean that the public schools and universities had less money to spend.
Public schools get local and federal funds in addition to the state funding. School boards can raise taxes. Universities can raise tuition.
While the local media were hand-wringing over the “devastating cuts” to public schools in Jacksonville, the school district was spending more money each year, with a 30 percent increase over a decade. I suspect the same is true for most other districts, but don't expect the liberal media in Florida to give you an accurate accounting.
The second reason is that this finger-pointing is pointless. It rests on the assumption that more spending somehow benefits children -- a myth promulgated and perpetuated by liberals. There is no proof that increasing the money input to education improves the outcomes, although it does provide powerful union bosses with more money to contribute to liberal politicians.
But there is solid evidence that public schools in Florida have improved in the past 15 years, while the state has been leading the nation in focusing on standards, accountability and school choice.
When Crist was claiming to be a conservative Republican, he espoused those reforms. Now that he has won the hearts and minds of Florida liberals by “evolving” from a knuckle-dragging Republican into an upright liberal Democrat, he has a different view.
But who knows when he might hear voices in the night and be born again as a conservative?
And wouldn't it be rich if he were elected by an enormous liberal turnout and then returned to his conservative side?
Fact is, during the time that liberals claim government schools were being starved, the number of schools earning an "A" grade for good performance increased, even as the bar was raised continually.
Instead of talking about matters that don't matter, the candidates should be talking about important things, such as how many jobs have been created by the private sector during the past four years. Scott has been doing that, but the liberal media have responded with faux news stories claiming that fewer jobs have been created than Scott promised.
When they look at the liberal president's record in that regard, they don't find fault.
Just suppose they used the same standards and blamed Scott's predecessor for Scott's “failures.”
Lloyd Brown was in the newspaper business nearly 50 years, beginning as a copy boy and retiring as editorial page editor of the Florida Times-Union in Jacksonville. After retirement he served as a policy analyst for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.