Scott, Facing Re-Election, Wants More Ed Cred

BY BUDDY NEVINS

 

Rick Scott is trying, but whether he is succeeding to rehabilitate his image as a governor who is bad for education remains to be seen.

Scott has got to do something.

Polls continue to indicate he is taking a beating for cutting billions from education and appearing to bully teachers early in his term.

In recent months, Scott has been visiting classrooms and promising more help to schools.

It’s an attempt to reposition him prior to his re-election campaign.

Today in Orlando he recommended a $2,500 pay raise for teachers.  It would cost the state $480 million.

Teacher groups said that the money – which still must be approved by the Legislature and then individual School Boards – would make little difference in the next election.

It “puts us back to zero,” Florida Education Association President Andy Ford told the Miami Herald.

Ford noted that two years ago, Scott engineered a 3 percent cut in salaries for pension contribution.

“No one is fooled by this,” the paper quoted Karen Aronowitz, president of the 22,000-member United Teachers of Dade.

Still, Team Scott is making an all-out effort.

Note the news release is headed “doubling Down on Education.”  Hmmmm.

I also found interesting the way Scott spun the cuts in education he backed earlier.
I underlined it below.

Here is his speech:

 

 

 

GOVERNOR RICK SCOTT

REMARKS PREPARED FOR DELIVERY

ANNOUNCING $2,500 TEACHER PAY RAISE

JANUARY 23, 2013

 

I would like to thank Dr. Jenkins for doing such a great job as Superintendent of Orange County Schools; And, for being focused on nurturing the success of our students.

I would also like to thank Ocoee Middle Principal Sharyn Gabriel and congratulate her for having such a wonderful students and teachers; and for being the 2011 Florida Innovative Principal of the Year. In her school, you’ll find iPod Touches, iPads, iMacs, Mac Books, and more, all used to better educate students.

Dr. Jenkins and Principal Gabriel make a difference for their students. I was here just a few months ago, in September, as part of our Education Listening Tour. We meet with teachers and parents and heard their ideas about how we can help our students compete globally.

I came here to listen. And I heard parents’ and teachers’ concerns. They want 100 percent of our focus to be on student achievement.

Today, I am back here again because we are ready to take action.

But, before I announce the action we are prepared to take together today, I want to talk about our state’s economic situation over the last few years.

When I took office in 2011, our state’s economy was off-track. What do I mean by that?

In the four years before I took office, we lost 825,500 jobs.

Unemployment more than tripled – from 3.5% to 11.1%.

State debt increased over those four years to $5.2 billion.

Our real estate market had collapsed.

I ran for Governor because I wanted to preserve the American Dream that I saw fading away. With high unemployment, our state was losing jobs and losing hope.

I ran for Governor committed to get our economy back on track to create more jobs and opportunities for Florida families.

I knew we could not invest more in our students if we did not improve the job prospects for our families.

Today, I am happy to report that since I took office almost two years ago, our unemployment rate has had the second biggest drop in the US – from 11.1 percent to 8 percent.

Just last week, we learned that our unemployment rate is at 8.0% – the lowest it has been in 4 years.

News from the Florida Realtors also indicates that our housing market is making a comeback.

Since I took office two years ago, we have also cut state debt by $2 billion – lessening the debt burden passed on to our children and grandchildren.

We have also cut taxes and regulations to encourage our economy to make it easier for Florida businesses to hire more Florida workers. This means more opportunities for Florida families to pursue their version of the American dream.

We had to make some hard choices to get our economy back on track. We had hundreds of millions of dollars of federal “stimulus” funds that went away.

We had to make the hard decisions to balance our budget, even with declining funds.

Just like in any family or business, making the decisions to do more with less in lean times is difficult. It is especially difficult to reduce spending in important areas like education. That is why last year, as soon as we were able to, we invested a billion dollars into our K-12 education system.

Today, we are here to make another major announcement that will double-down on that billion-dollar investment.

Now that our economy is back on track and we can afford to make major investments again, we are responsible for investing in the areas that will most help Florida families pursue their dreams.

Now that our economy is on track, we must be focused on creating the business climate where Florida businesses will hire more Floridians, where we can invest in student achievement, and where our families can afford to live.

As Governor, I think about how we can help Florida families that are making $50,000 a year or less; that are struggling to make ends meet. That was my family growing up – and those are many of our Florida families today.

Ultimately, I want all Florida families to have more opportunities to pursue their dreams. That means more job opportunities. It is impossible to connect more Floridians with great jobs without a strong education system that supports student achievement.

Today, we are at an exciting place in the history of education in Florida – thanks in large part to the hard work of our teachers.  Florida teachers are the heart of the success of Florida students.

Our students and teachers were recently ranked 6th for educational quality. On a recent international reading survey, our fourth-graders scored among the best in the world. And, the National Council on Teacher Quality ranked Florida teachers number one in the country in their 2012 survey.

Our teachers are working hard to move toward a new set of Common Core State Standards that will help to prepare our students for college and careers.  A few months ago, I rolled out my College and Career FIRST plan, which included a number of our proposals to help teachers purchase supplies, instead of using their own money, and to help districts with innovative professional development to help teachers prepare for the new standards.

Not only should we support our teachers during this transition, but we should also recognize them for the hard work they are putting into preparing our students for college and careers. By 2014, Florida teachers will be a part of our performance pay structure that will help attract and advance the most high-performing teachers in our education system. We believe in teacher accountability and we know our teachers do too. With the new performance system in place, now is the time to increase our investment in Florida’s teachers.

Today, I am excited to be here to announce that as we continue to move forward and create more jobs, we are doubling down on our investment in education.

Today, I am announcing that I am asking the legislature to join with me in supporting my 2013 budget request to give every Florida full-time public classroom teacher a $2,500 pay raise.

I can think of no better investment for our state than investing in those teachers who work on the frontline of Florida’s future every day by teaching our children.

The full budget, which we will announce in the next few weeks, will include a total of $480 million for teacher salaries.  This funding is enough for a $2,500 pay raise – plus related benefits – for all fulltime, classroom public teachers.

It is also important to note that not only will my budget include this $2,500 teacher pay raise, I will propose an overall increase in education funding. We will announce the full budget with even more details on our education investment in the next few weeks.

This is a great day for education in Florida. We have made the hard choices over the last few years to get our economy growing again. We are back on track. Now, we need to double down on our investment in education.

As we continue to invest in improving our education system and supporting the creation of more jobs for Florida families, we are moving full steam ahead toward Florida being the best place in the world to make dreams come true.

Increasing student achievement is critical to keeping our economy growing and creating more jobs and opportunities in Florida.

I am asking every educator at every level in our state – and every elected official at every level to stand with me over the next few weeks and months to support this major investment in Florida teachers; they are critical to increasing student achievement.

This $2,500 teacher pay raise will be in my recommended budget, but it still needs to pass the legislature before we can sign it into law. It will also need to be collectively bargained at the district level to be implemented. I look forward to working with educators and leaders at all levels of government and all across our state to make this commitment to Florida teachers a reality.

Thank You.

 



16 Responses to “Scott, Facing Re-Election, Wants More Ed Cred”

  1. Duke says:

    He’s really scrambling to undo the damage he did while trying to hand Florida to Romney. Won’t work.

  2. SAM FIELDS says:

    HE’S LIKE THE DRUNK DRIVER WHO RAN YOU OVER TRYING TO BECOME A HERO FOR DRIVING YOU TO THE EMERGENCY ROOM

  3. Chaz Stevens, Genius says:

    @Sam

    I think he’s politically more akin to an “upperdecker”.

  4. Notocorruption says:

    I’m sorry, Governor. I could not support you in 2010 in the primary or the general election and I cannot do so again in 2014.

  5. Fly on the Wall says:

    In the news this evening, it stated that the State of Florida has a surplus of over $400 million.
    Perhaps that is why he is proposing a $2500 raise. Of course, that surplus is on the backs of the teachers who have to pay 3% into their retirement with the state, which was previously paid for by each school district.

  6. The Shoe on the Other Foot says:

    Reminds me of the guy who gave a deportation stay by an executive order last year to about 10 million + Hispanics six months before a national election.
    Funny how these things happen.
    Funny seeing the faux
    outrage too!

  7. robbed again says:

    he didn’t hand FL to romney – he handed it to obama touting our economic turn around, job growth, etc., etc., that impied his 2 years in office under obama prez was good for FL
    he will not get re-elected to a second term unless the dems put forth more lame candidates like the last time.

  8. crist for gov. says:

    i’ll accept $2500 offer and still vote against scott

  9. Sensible Pension Reform Now says:

    Teachers should earn more salary because by market conditions they are underpaid. However pensions whether in government or the private sector should always be contributory.

    Whether the employee chooses to contribute 1% or 50% of their pay to a pension plan should be up to them. Tax rules should adjust to account for that. However, government’s match should be bargained for, set in stone, and clearly identified in the budget as a fixed cost.

    We cannot place unlimited expense and exposure on the part of government into defined benefit plans as we have for decades. Financially this is irresponsible and unsustainable.

    Pension funds should be invested by employees in responsible market instruments and accounted for in individual accounts. There can be basic rules and limits on how the funds are invested. Reckless investment is not responsible pension management. But within reasonable limits the choice of investment options should be up to the employee.

    When employees manage their own account with guidance provided by trained professionals, they begin taking responsibility for the amount of money they save and accumulate.

    Not like today, where they mindlessly wait for a set amount when they retire. Paid professionals providing assistance should advise employees on investment options and strategies, help them manage the account, and implement choices. But never make decisions regarding the account because it’s not their money.

    Workers need to understand that pensions are their money and they need to manage those accounts the same way they manage their household budgets.

    Patronizing notions that some of us are not smart enough to manage our own money is inherently insulting nd designed to dis-empower the employee. That is an argument that a banker would make in order to manage accounts to his own advantage.

    Working adults manage money all the time whether they are physicians or janitors. Everyone must learn to manage their own money. Take advantage of the people employers provide to help you through it. But ultimately you must manage your own accounts.

    When you retire, you should be able to draw on your account however you wish. Lump sum, monthly or annual installments. You can take a little or take a lot, you can change your payout anytime you want. It’s your account and that money is yours. You can continue investing your account and draw no money. And your draws and income should be tax free because the purpose of a pension is to provide for your old age so that you don’t become a burden to society.

    Payouts should never be a percentage of salary because your account may not earn that much which means you’re cheating someone else who has to pay the difference.

    Or if you earn much more, then you cheat yourself. Nobody should be entitled to any such assurance. Your account should move with you from job to job. No such thing as this system or that. Your parents can open it for you when you’re born if they wish and start if off with a contribution. When you get your first part-time job a teen you begin making contributions to it as you will throughout your working life.

    Each account should be managed over the life of it by the employee with the assistance of reliable professionals. There should be strict rules about taxing the accounts and early withdrawals. The goal is for the balance in the account to stand for itself when you come to retire and need it.

    People should be taught to manage money. Everyone should learn this and instruction should begin in elementary school and progress throughout life.

    The lazy approach of not even looking at your account and “hoping” for the best at somebody else’s expense only allows “money managers” to use your money to make them money. But not necessarily in your best interest. Labor unions in particular need to understand that they do not help their workers by insisting on outdated pension philosophies. All that does is push government away from hiring workers and instead going to the private sector where such burdens do not exist.

    If government pensions adopted that type of arrangement instead of the current guaranteed benefit approach the financial crisis governments face with pensions would end.

  10. Commissioner Angelo Castillo says:

    Buddy,

    When it comes to endorsing other officials and the issue of public education, here’s a partial litmus test I use, emphasis added on the word partial:

    (1) We must pay our teachers more money and give them better tools to ensure that our kids learn. Then we can talk about teacher accountability. Teacher pay in Florida is woefully inadequate, insulting actually. If we want kids to learn we must have the very best teachers. You can’t say you love our kids and then be a cheapskate when it comes to teacher pay. That logic does not compute.

    (2) There should be total and complete equity in funding for all public schools, including charter schools, especially high performing government run charter schools, and failing charters just like failing traditional schools should be closed down or fixed. No parent should ever be required to send their kid to a school that they don’t like or isn’t performing well. President Obama and Education Secretary Dunkin said it best “the money should follow the child.” Nobody in Broward or Florida has stronger credentials than them to speak about public education, parent choice or charter schools. Republicans and Democrats should unite. End the discrimination. Equal funding for all public school students now.

    (3) We have too many administrators in school districts sapping up precious dollars best used in the classroom or for teacher pay. Districts should be made to enlarge the jobs of principals, assistant principals and area superintendents so that administrative supports are provided by those closest to the school. I say “made” because they seem unwilling to do it on their own. Stop the waste.

    (4) We must demand more parent involvement in school. Not ask. Demand. Don’t tell me poor folk can’t care more for their kids, that argument is insidiously racist and I reject it. Nobody was poorer than me growing up and my parents always had time for my school. They made time. Let’s make parents care more by engaging them more in the educational process and ultimately in the upbringing of their kids. This empowers teachers and students, and it shifts focus away from bloated school district bureaucracies. It also deters crime. For kids to learn well, parents must have skin in the game. Make it happen and don’t be bashful about it. Either we as parents love our kids or we don’t. No excuses. Be a good parent.

    (5) Kids learn better when they are in uniform. Studies have proven this over and over again. Kids in uniform perform and behave better. They get along better and display more respect and better discipline. Parents save money on clothes. Stop the foolishness. Get our school kids in uniform and help them focus on what’s important. The name on the front of the shirt is the one that should matter. Not the one on your collar.

    The vast majority of people who elected me support these views. The day they charge me with goals I can’t live by myself, I will retire. Until then, it’s my job to defend and advance their agenda.

    So generally, candidates for public office who strongly support these and related views should expect to count on my vote and support.

    Those who don’t can’t hope for my vote — much less my endorsement.

    In particular, I’m disappointed whenever someone says they are for something and then betrays what they said they were for. That kind of thing happens to me once, because I find nothing more disgusting than a liar in public office who betrays their word.

    It’s high time that kind of thing ends. We deserve better. And it begins by ensuring that each of the people we elect to office does the things we send them there to do. They work for us, not the other way around, and this system of ours can’t work well so long as that basic principle is misunderstood.

    I hold myself up to that standard every day. Lots of us do. So can everybody else.

    Peace,

    Angelo

    FROM BUDDY: Some sensible ideas here.

  11. Dear Buddy says:

    Angleo does have some sensible ideas, sadly as always you have to wade through the ego and looking down his nose as he says it, thus causing everyone to tune out.

    Sorry but most other elected officials in this town could have answered this question without having to pump themselves up about the greatness of their endorsement.
    He is one of hundreds of municipal officials in Broward, I am sure Patti Good could get elected with or without him.

    So Angleo who are the liars in public office? If you are going to point fingers, and you are such a macho man to put everyone in their place, name names. If you care about the public as you say, we need your wisdom to point this out to us.

    FYI, Angelo why again is Pines Carter in the red and you are asking the rest of us to pay more to keep your little Pinecrest wannabe afloat?

  12. Chaz Stevens, Genius says:

    @Angelo

    Props to you. I see you’ve managed to put together a rebutal with only 2,900 words!

    Most excellent… A merely 2,650 word reply is right around the corner.

  13. The Fact says:

    Angelo – is it true that all charter schools in Broward, including Pines Charters, received an addition $50 million in PECO dollars while billions was cut from the other public schools in Broward. Why are you only representing the kids in charter schools? Is it because there parents are more likely to vote?
    Disgust.

  14. Fly on the Wall says:

    When the Pembroke Pines charter schools were designed and constructed, they were constructed to the same designs and codes required for public schools. They also asked the Broward County School inspectors to inspect their schools, which they did. The schools passed all of the inspections. The inspectors were told if the schools failed for any reason, then Pembroke Pines would be able to sell them back to the school district. Maybe that is what’s up.

  15. Christine says:

    Angelo,

    You are a blustering, blowhard (and not in the Mallozzi manner)buffoon.Your comments dance upon the rim of the ridiculous. Although #1, #2, and #3 may have a modicum of merit, they are hardly original or innovative.

    But you surpass all standards of stupidity when you proffer #4 and #5.”Demand” more parental involvement? Really? How so? When you need neither a license nor certification to become a parent. Indeed, many are parents due to a botched biology experiment, rather than a planned for and wanted event. So – you demand- from the drug addled, or the folks so intent on keeping up with the Jones’ that they absent themselves from any significant relationship with their child in order to buy that house in Parkland, or maybe they are just memberso f that ME generation. Let alone the hard working, exhausted single parent who is just trying to provide their children with the barest of necessities while working bounteous overtime in minimal wage jobs? DEMAND, you say?

    Or what about #5? Who is going to pay for those uniforms- the single Mom who is working at Wawa or is this another added expense that the taxpayers will have to burden?

    Maybe what you need Angelo is a little less verbosity and a little more reality.

  16. Reality Chek says:

    How do you expect someone like Angelo and his wife for that matter to understand reality since their entire careers are predicated on making sure they kiss the right ass of the right elected or people running a non profit for a job. These two wouldn’t last 5 minutes in the private sector. Lets face it when you and your wife are pulling down 250k a year of tax payer money plus his commissioner pay, you can make lots of time for kids, pontificating and pay for fancy uniforms, etc. Poor people be damned. I am waiting for Angelo’s response that he grew up in a ghetto and took 5 subways to school so the only reason people are poor is because the choose to be.

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