State Lawmakers Get Graded on Education

By: Allison Nielsen | Posted: May 24, 2014 3:55 AM

Just as students get their final grades back at the end of the year, Florida lawmakers have received grades of their own based on their commitment to furthering the quality of education in the Sunshine State.

The Education Report Card from the Foundation for Florida’s Future doles out "A" to "F" grades for legislators who are “keeping the promise of a quality education” in Florida through “demonstrations of leadership.”

Nearly 200 lawmakers were graded on seven core principles: rigorous academic standards, standardized measurement, data-driven accountability, effective teachers and leaders, outcome-based funding, school choice and digital learning.

A team of researchers from the foundation gathered to rank legislators in each category on a scale of 0 to 100 to determine their final grades.

Some legislators fared well and even made the foundation's “honor roll” for their work. In the Senate, John Legg, Andy Gardiner, Bill Montford, and Jeremy Ring all made the honor roll, while Reps. Manny Diaz and Erik Fresen earned spots on the list from the House.

Incoming Senate President Andy Gardiner, R-Orlando, spearheaded a bill that would give parents of children with disabilities a certain amount of money to help pay for approved tutoring, therapy, textbooks or other educational expenses.

“It is important that children with unique abilities and their parents have every opportunity available to them and this bill accomplishes that endeavor," Gardiner told Sunshine State News. 

Other lawmakers, however, didn’t do so well. Sen. Dwight Bullard, D-Cutler Bay, flunked the foundation’s report card, being the only senator to receive an “F.”

During this year’s legislative session, Bullard was one lawmaker who raised concerns over the expansion of the state’s voucher program. The Cutler Bay Democrat was particularly vocal over his distaste for the bill, going so far as to say that an organization in support of the legislation had been offering jobs as incentive to vote to pass it.

Bullard never specified which organization or lawmakers he was referring to.

Several House members received high marks for their work for Florida’s education. Rep. Carlos Trujillo, R-Miami, was one state representative who received an “A” grade.

“Thank you@AFloridaPromise for honoring me with an "A" grade,” Trujillo tweeted Friday. “Bettering our children's education is my priority.”

Other House members didn’t receive great marks. Rep. Mark Danish, D-New Tampa, was one legislator who received a failing grade. Danish attributed his failing marks to the fact that the foundation is “dominated by conservatives.”

"They say it's not partisan, but it's definitely biased," Danish told Tampa-10 News.

But the foundation says that’s not necessarily the case, considering the fact that Democratic senators made their honor roll list. In the Senate, 64 percent of the 14 Democrats listed received an "A" or a "B" grade. 

All Democrats in the House, however, received failing grades.

“I think it’s interesting that we’re giving lawmakers grades just like the students in our schools. We’re holding them accountable for their support for student-centered policies,” said the Foundation's Deputy Communications Director Allison Aubuchon. “Teachers, parents and the public can use that information to see how their lawmakers support this issue.”

Reach Tampa-based reporter Allison Nielsen at or follow her on Twitter at @AllisonNielsen.

Comments (5)

Why not?
11:10AM MAY 24TH 2014
Frank you are right again! Jeb Bush and the Bush machine has got everything under control. Even the Leon county Circuit Court trial before Judge Terry Lewis. The BUSH GOP paid a consultant over $6 million to scheme up the congressional districts in favor of the Repubs - now the GOP is paying his lawyers - When Jusge Lewis ruled over 500 pages of emails and communications between Pat Bainter and the GOP Leadership was admissible evidence - the Bainter called them trade secrets and appealed his ruling to the Jeb Bush_Charlie Crist_Rick Scott - court of appeals who ruled in Bainters favor - so now they are going to take this issue before the same Florida Supreme Court that last seek returned the Rick Scoot secret trust to the Leon County "circus court."

If they are connected to the Bush mafia - the more they can steal the better they are rewarded. Ray Sansom by everything that is holy and decent on this earth along with a bunch more of these goons should be serving 20 to life right now in a federal prison! Insead He's working for one of Jeb Bush's for profit chart school management friends!

The Rader Group
Ray Sansom
Vice President for Human Resources and Administration
Mr. Sansom has a B. S. Degree in Political Science from The Florida State University and a Master Degree in Educational Leadership from the University of West Florida.
He was Principal of the Learning Academy of Santa Rosa, a 6-12 Drop-Out Prevention School in Santa Rosa County Florida. He also served as a Dean of Students at the Okaloosa Academy a Drop-out Prevention school for middle and high school students in Okaloosa County Florida.
Mr. Sansom also served as the Director of Community Affairs and Executive Director of the Okaloosa Public Schools Foundation for the Okaloosa School District from 2001-2008.
Mr. Sansom is a former Okaloosa County Commissioner, serving from 1992-2000. He served as Chairman for four years. In 2002, Mr. Sansom was elected to the Florida House of Representatives. In 2008, he became the 84th Florida Speaker of the House.

Now watch what these goons do to this Florida State Representative Charles Van Zant from Keystone Heights who has dared to tell the truth about Jeb Bush's Common Core agenda. The goons will come out of the woodwork and take this well meaning Christian apart at the seams.

That's what Aggressive Compassionate Conservatives like Jeb Bush do. They destroy their enemies! And FRANK who was it that pushed "the big lie?" If I recall correctly it was the man that Prescott Bush financed to built his Third Reich; none other than Adolph Hitler (the first!)
7:12PM MAY 24TH 2014
Don't go bringing me into the discussion when you start waving the Hitler comparisons around . . . . that's just . . .

Pathetic . . .
8:08AM MAY 24TH 2014
So why do you think a Democrat raising concerns about voucher programs would receive a "F" from that group known as the Foundation for Florida’s Future (along with EVERY Democrat in the House) . . . . . . . couldn't be that the group has obvious partisan political connections, right . . . . oh, I see . . . . it was founded by partisan Jeb Bush . . . . something that SSN once again just conveniently forgot to mention . . . . . . . . . . . . chalk this up to more GOP politics of the "Big Lie" . . . .

Pathetic . . . .
9:35AM MAY 24TH 2014
interesting that so many in house got F's, but it does not appear to be partisan if dems also got A's in senate.
7:07PM MAY 24TH 2014
Of course, you must be right . . . . ALL 45 Democrats in the House must have deserved a F (from a Jeb Bush created organization) . . . what are those odds that would happen by chance . . . . except through a partisan political procedure, of course . . . .

Your attempted spin just demonstrates how politics of the "Big Lie" attempts to work . . . . no need to know what the basis for the grades are . . . . just like good little GOP soldiers, say "duh" and provide blanket acceptance that the grades must have been correct because a token number of Democrats in the Senate (9) weren't presented with the same failing grades . . . . . sort of like justifying/accepting voter suppression of 300,000 in Florida based on one or two cases of fraud . . . . . .

Pathetic . . . .

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