The readers’ forum

Give struggling schools resources needed to succeed


Re the May 21 article Florida education head rejects testing firm gay claim: The problem with Charles Van Zant isn’t what he said; it is he is pretty typical for Florida’s Republican legislators.

Not just the state of Florida, but the nation has reacted with outrage over Van Zant’s comments that the American Institute of Research (AIR), the group administering Common Core in Florida, is trying to turn children gay. What I don’t understand is why this is outrageous, considering all the other things the Republicans in the Legislature have said and done.

They voted for cheap and comprehensive health benefits for themselves while denying the Medicaid expansion for hundreds of thousands of poor Floridians who desperately need it. They balanced Florida’s books on the backs of its teachers and public service workers when they took 3 percent of their pay. This money didn’t go to the pension fund, but instead to the general fund. They did this while at the same time giving a tax break to people who bought expensive yachts.

With vouchers the Legislature literally had to twist themselves into knots ignoring their stances on STEM, accountability and teacher evaluations to vote for an expansion this year. Then they forced merit pay on teachers despite the fact studies say it doesn’t work and testing experts say tying teachers pay to a high-stakes test is foolhardy. They routinely thumb their noses at educators whom they have practically reduced to second-class citizens.

There are, however, plenty of reasons not to like AIR. First they brought the disastrous Value Added Model evaluation method to Florida. After that, how they got a second chance to do anything is beyond me, but they are charging Florida $5 million to field test questions in Utah.

There are plenty of reasons to dislike Common Core, too. It doubles down on high-stakes testing, which has sucked the joy of learning and teaching out of education for many students and teachers alike. It is untested and it doesn’t address our real problem in education — poverty.

What the Republicans in Tallahassee haven’t told you as they have been running around saying the sky is falling on education, is that if we factor out poverty, then our scores zoom to the top and that was before Common Core. What do you think is a better idea, to give our struggling schools extra resources or to blow up the entire system? Gov. Scott and most of the Republican-dominated Legislature think it is the latter.

So, yes, we should be outraged by Van Zant, but the Republicans in the Florida Legislature have given us many other opportunities to be outraged, too.

Chris Guerrieri, publisher, Education Matters, Jacksonville

Read more Letters to the Editor stories from the Miami Herald

  • Declare war on ISIS

    The ISIS army, along with the other Islamic militants, have declared war on us by killing our citizens and threatening to kill more.

  • Too much coverage

    With 24-hour coverage of a St. Louis suburb and the shooting of a resident by police, we must get another 24-hour news channel. The Middle East is exploding. American citizens are at risk from brutal terrorists.

  • Black leadership void

    According to the interviews I have seen on television, Ferguson is 70 percent black and has no black elected officials. There are only three black officers in the 60-member police force.

Miami Herald

Join the

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category