Randolph Bracy: Charter School Educator Pushing for School Accountability, Licenses for Immigrants
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Education: University of Central Florida, Master of Science in Administration
Occupation: Business development consultant and job placement officer at Workforce Advantage Academy
Previous Public Office: None
Family: Wife, daughter
Did you know? Played college basketball; still shoots hoops on his free time.
Northwest Orange County's newest representative is something of an oddity: a Democrat who's a strong supporter of charter schools, having worked at one for the last couple of years.
“Part of my job was to get students employment; the point of the program was that they had to work as a part of their curriculum,” freshman Rep. Randolph Bracy, D-Orlando, tells Sunshine State News of his latest stint as business development consultant and job placement officer for Orlando's Workforce Advantage Academy. “I've developed a lot of business relationships to link the students with jobs. Lots of folks in my district, when they did get this employment it really helped their family's bottom line.”
Bracy says he was totally ignorant of politics until about 10 years ago, when his mother drafted him to manage her campaign when she ran for the local school board. She lost that race, but her son gained an appreciation of the political process and the issues that were affecting his community.
(He says he is his mother's his second-biggest supporter, after his wife Alfrea.)
“Working with these kids and their families, I've really gotten to see a lot of their struggles firsthand,” he explains. “That was the impetus for me running. It was really to help my district economically.”
Two pieces of legislation will be his primary focus this session, beginning with HB 237 (“Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program”), which requires private schools participating in the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program to submit all student standardized test scores to the state Department of Education, which in turn will be required to publish them on its website.
The program grants tax credits to corporations which donate to nonprofit scholarship funding organizations, which in turn give scholarships to students to attend participating private schools. Bracy says his bill would help keep these private schools publicly accountable and help parents make more informed education decisions.
“This gives a way for parents to know what type of school they're sending their kids to, and how the school is performing academically,” he explains.
HB 235 (“Requirements for Driver Licenses”) is sure to raise impassioned discussion if taken up by the committees it's been referred to. The measure would make it easier for illegal immigrants to get driver's licenses, if they've been given Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival status by the federal government.
Last year, President Obama announced his administration's policy to bestow such status on immigrants who were brought to the country illegally as children (before they turned 16), are presently 30 years of age or younger, have been living in the U,.S. for at least five years, are in school or graduated or served in the military, and don't have a serious criminal record.
“I know immigration is a hot topic here in the state and the country,” Bracy admits. “But I think both parties are paying attention to the need to court Latino other minority voters, so I would think that this is a bill that both parties should be interested in: basically, welcoming immigrants into the fold of the American fabric.”
Reach Eric Giunta at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (954) 235-9116.