Saturday, February 2, 2008

Gaetz Hates Kids, Knowledge, Education, Common Sense

We have an early front-runner for stupidest political quote of the year, from Sen. Don Gaetz:

Insiders are not bad. They’re good, because it’s a complicated world, and you have to be able to navigate that world. But education is too important to be left to educators.

The fact that non-educators are so heavily involved with education in Florida is the primary reason that the whole thing is so messed up. Education should be left up to educators. Parents and students should have a role as well. Politicians and businessmen really shouldn't. The purpose of education isn't simply to create good little worker bees for corporations to exploit for profit, which is exactly how Gaetz sees our school system.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Several legislators participate in turning democracy upside down. As long as constituents agree with their point of view, everything is hunkey dorey. Note that Senator Wise ushered his constituents to the State Board of Education when they complained that their views against the teaching of evolution were not being heard. Note that Senator Wise reintroduced a bill this year that the Governor vetoed last year when his constituents complained about the DOE. As in other times, Wise wishes to change definitions, suggesting that reading is the same for all students, native speakers and non-native speakers (254,000 students in Florida learning English). In the committee meeting two weeks ago, the DOE invited expert testified that reading is NOT the same and reading training did not provide what teachers need to serve many of Florida's students and not those who are learning English. The new Commissioner of Education had to reverse himself. The DOE position of last year has reversed itself. Hard to start a new position and disagree with the Senator who holds the purse strings on an issue that he clearly intends to see pass. For Wise, it's a question of who gets to decide, the legislative or executive branch and nothing else really matters.

The expert testimony did not affect the vote and the bill passed committee anyway without full review of implications on literacy. The focus is not on the students. Once there is disagreement with Wise, the door is slammed and nailed shut. When the opposing evidence cannot be ignored, it is trivialized and attacked.

Representative Jennifer Carroll, also responding to the same constituents from her area, introduced the companion bill last year (vetoed by the Governor) and reintroduced it again this year as HB 0491. The 16 member Schools and Learning Council takes it up soon.

Only the Governor mentions the importance of literacy and students.