Lenny Curry Bites Back Against Dem Leader's Anti-Scott 'Tant Rant'
Around the State
The Republican Party of Florida lashed back at state Democratic Chair Allison Tant less than three hours after she ripped Gov. Rick Scott for what she called his "leadership vacuum" in Florida education.
Labeling her op-ed comments in Thursday's South Florida Sun-Sentinel a "Tant Rant," Party Chairman Lenny Curry went to work "busting the myths" Tant portrayed in the newspaper story.
According to Tant in the Sun-Sentinel, this "Legislative Session Shows Rick Scott's Leadership Vacuum ... And Now, After Three Years Of Failed Education Policies ... Rick Scott Is Now Trying To Portray Himself As A Friend And Ally Of Students And Teachers."
Curry asks, "How does a 'leadership vacuum' lead to record investments in education?"
This is Curry's written retort:
FACT: Public Schools Are "Winners" In Governor Scott's Budget With $1.2 Billion Increase In Investment. "At this point, the winners far outnumber the losers in Scott's proposal: The winners ... Public schools: The K-12 system would receive a $1.2 billion increase that includes a $2,500 pay raise for teachers and a $412 increase in per-student funding. He also would give teachers up to $250 a year to buy supplies and would provide $100 million for technology improvements." (Lloyd Dunkelberger, "The Winners And Losers In Scott's Budget Plan," The Gainesville Sun, 1/31/13.)
FACT: Governor Scott's Budget Has State-Based Funding Of Education At $10.7 Billion, The Highest State Contribution To Florida K-12 Schools In History. "The budget I announce tomorrow will include an increase of $1.2 billion in funding for K-12 public schools. That's right -- a $1.2 billion increase in funding for K-12 public schools. This total includes $10.7 billion in state funding for Florida K-12 schools -- the highest state funding level in history. This funding commitment represents per student funding of around $6,800 -- an increase of more than $400 per student, or around 6.5 percent, over the current fiscal year." (Remarks to Associated Press, "$1.2 Billion Increase In Funding For K-12 Public Schools," Gov. Rick Scott, 1/30/13.)
How, Curry asks, can high student, teacher achievement be the result of "failed education policies"?
FACT: Florida Teachers Ranked 4th In Nation, Schools Ranked 6th In Nation By Education Week Report Card. ("Quality Counts 2013: Code Conduct -- State Report Cards," Education Week, 1/10/13.)
FACT: "Florida 4th Graders Rank #2 In Worldwide Reading Test." "Some very bright news comes from the Sunshine State this morning. Florida fourth graders rank among the best in the world in reading, according to the results of an international study released this week. The test, which was taken by students in 49 countries, has Florida's fourth grade students coming in second place, just two points behind Hong Kong, and 13 points above the U.S. national average for 2011. This is the first year Florida has participated in the study, which also measured math and science scores for fourth and eighth graders." (Sabrina Kahn, ""Florida 4th Graders Rank #2 In Worldwide Reading Test," CNN, 12/12/12.)
FACT: "Florida Ranked No. 1 In Teacher Quality." "Florida teachers earned an overall grade of B -- the highest in the nation -- on the National Council on Teacher Quality's 2011 State Teacher Policy Yearbook. This year's biennial report measures Florida's progress against a set of 36 policy goals focused on helping states put in place a comprehensive framework in support of preparing, retaining and rewarding effective teachers." ("Florida Ranked No. 1 In Teacher Quality," Orlando Business Journal, 1/27/12.)