Florida

Putting Education Reform To The Test

What A Second Term Of Rick Scott Or Charlie Crist Will Mean For Florida Education

Gov. Rick Scott and former Gov. Charlie Crist have talked about K-12 funding, the cost of college and other education issues.

John O'Connor / StateImpact Florida

Gov. Rick Scott and former Gov. Charlie Crist have talked about K-12 funding, the cost of college and other education issues.

Polls show Governor Rick Scott and former Governor Charlie Crist are polarizing. Voters are as likely to dislike the candidates as they are to approve of them.

So both candidates are talking about schools, colleges and scholarships — to motivate their supporters.

“Education is an issue that is helping to appeal to the base,” says Sean Foreman, a Barry University political science professor and chairman of the education committee for the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce.

Foreman says they’ve got a pretty good idea what a second term of either candidate would mean for education.

“I think Rick Scott is going to focus on more spending, but with that will come more strings attached and more testing involved,” Foreman says. “[Crist] will also call for more spending, but more spending in public schools and less focus on vouchers like the Republicans have.”

So far, the big argument has been over funding for public schools. Both candidates can say they’ve supported more money for schools.

Scott did at an August campaign event in Homestead.

“Now we have that record funding for education,” he told the crowd, and his claim is true: $18.9 billion in a year is the most Florida has ever spent on education.

Scott got there by requesting more funding each of the last two years. But during his first year in office, he balanced the budget by cutting $1.3 billion from public schools.

Still, what’s being spent on each student this year is just under $200 less than the all-time high in 2007 – when Crist was governor.

Crist reminded teachers of that fact at a Miami rally in September.

“We funded per-pupil funding greater than what Rick Scott is doing with almost a $3 billion surplus,” Crist told United Teachers of Dade members. “We don’t have a revenue problem here in Florida. We have a priority problem here in Florida.”

Foreman, the political scientist, says both candidates will probably spend more on public schools.

“Education is going to be a winner either way,” he says. “As long as the state budget grows as expected, we’re going to see more dollars. The difference is in how those dollars are spent.”

So public schools will likely see more money no matter who is governor, but Scott and Crist have different plans for the state’s college scholarship program, Bright Futures.

In 2011, lawmakers raised the test scores required to get those scholarships. Now, fewer than half as many students are getting those scholarships.

Crist says, if he’s governor, he’ll expand the program. That’s what he said at a Telemundo debate answering a question about Hispanic Floridians.

“About 50,000 young people. Hispanic, African-American and otherwise, not having that opportunity to get a higher education in Florida today,” Crist said.

Scott argues he’s made Bright Futures go further for those who do receive the scholarships. That’s because he’s opposed increasing tuition at Florida universities. He also got lawmakers to change a law that let universities raise tuition on their own.

“He passed legislation that allowed tuition to go up 15 percent year after year after year,” Scott said. “And what actually happened was you thought you got Bright Futures, a free ride, but you actually didn’t.”

There are big differences between the candidates when it comes to teachers.

The very first bill Scott signed into law required that teachers be evaluated based on student test scores. The previous year, Crist vetoed a similar bill.

Another problem for the candidates? They’ve both changed their minds on high-profile education issues.

Scott asked for more public school funding after initially supporting cuts. He also once supported Florida’s Common Core math and language arts standards. But he got squishy when conservative activists opposed the standards.

Crist once supported school choice but now says the state should focus more on traditional public schools. He also supports a lawsuit challenging a private-school scholarship program.

Barry University’s Foreman says these flip-flops are why polls show both candidates are unpopular.

“A majority of voters don’t trust either Rick Scott or Charlie Crist,” he says. “So there’s always that concern that after the election is over they’ll change their mind again.”

The Florida governor’s race has gotten national attention – specifically because of education. Former Gov. Jeb Bush has hit the trail with Scott. And the president of the nation’s largest teacher’s union has campaigned for Crist — and made Scott a top target.

Comments

  • The Rev TV Series

    Voted for Charlie as a Republican. Voted for Charlie as a Independent. Now voting for Charlie as a Democrat because I am voting for Charlie and his values not a political party. Win Charlie Win. Florida needs you.

    • Jake

      But Charlie changed his opinion or values on every single issue. He has no core beliefs and does things solely for political reasons. He even admits this when discussing Sonia sotemayor. He admits that his party determined his “beliefs”. He isn’t fighting for us, he only cares about himself.

      • Chris

        scott flipped only 2 times less than crist did. crist 9 times, scott 7 times. they both suck.

    • clearvoice

      What are his values. Change his party to suit his pocket. Fools are born every day.

  • mindman

    Sounds like John Kasich in Ohio. Cut school funding, attacks unions until you get close to election then try to look like a supporter of education, poor people without insurance. Count on voters being too stupid to remember

    • Jake

      Scott cut education to balance a budget in debt. He restored the money and even put record funding to our schools. Most importantly, he quantifies his future plans by pledging $700 million for our schools. Crist cut education by the same amount and LEFT the budget that way. Scott will not make those cuts again and will only continue to increase funding.

      • Chris

        He increased spending by 11 BILLION, the most ever in Florida history, even as bad as crist is, he only increased it by 6 BILLION. Does that sound like what a republican does or more like what a democrat does? scott is a rino and is just as bad as crist.

        • tammy1021

          He needed that extra spending to pay off his cronies and buy support.

          • clearvoice

            Tammy, you need to flush your toilet. It stinks

          • tammy1021

            What a contribution to the conversation!!! Run along, adults are speaking.

      • tammy1021

        Scott cut education to fund tax breaks for his pals. Let’s be clear about that. Even when he restored the cuts, his pals were getting the benefit, not the students. More money going to testing firms, software firms and so on. Scott is as slimy as they come.

  • Dart Humeston

    It has been literally decades since I voted FOR someone. I only go to the polls to vote for the lessor of two weasels. This is a democracy?

    • Jake

      I understand your pain But Scott is definitely the way to go. He has delivered results. We don’t know if Crist truly cares, and he was a disaster for Florida.

      • Chris

        Tell us why scott is the way to go

      • Kathleen Voss Woolrich

        Im sorry but I have no idea who Scott has helped except rich people

        • tammy1021

          I was thinking the exact same thing. Cut school budgets while giving tax breaks to the rich. 96 percent of his “deals” have fallen through. I have yet to see the refund for that electric plant that wasnt built but we paid for. Trashing the Everglades for profit. Exactly how has Scott benefited the people of Florida?

  • Chris

    Just in the past 2 years, the republican party has lost 2% of their voters and the democrat party has lost 4%, at the same time the Libertarian party has gained an extra 12%. That’s the national average, here in Florida, the Libertarian party has grown by 19%. People are waking up! It’s about time.
    Vote for Adrian Wyllie.

    • Jake

      I applaud your optimism but Wyllie is polling terribly. Vote for Scott because he has given us results. More importantly, do it to AVOID CHARLIE. He was a disaster for Florida.

      • Chris

        Any good results? If so, what?

      • Kathleen Voss Woolrich

        what results are these? Do you know he robbed medicaid dental for kids and gave the contracts for the providers to his friends? Is there any part of Florida that he has not robbed? Hes a MONSTER

        • tammy1021

          He also tried to cut off life saving meds for transplant patients. That one he tried to do out of public view but got caught.

          He gave his pals in nursing homes a deal to house children. The end result; a 14 year old died. It has been proven that it’s more cost effective and compassionate to keep these children at home. But then Scott’s pals wouldnt be making that extra money.

        • clearvoice

          And the democrat he defeated was worse. What’s your point. Charlie only cares about himself. Changed parties only to suit his pockets. Florida has been on a roll since Scott’s be elected. Look around you now, Not 4 years ago.

          • tammy1021

            How has anyone but the wealthy befitted from Scott’s term in office?

    • Kathleen Voss Woolrich

      He cant win and all he is a spoiler..

  • Concerned

    I’ve never voted for a democrat, but Charlie has my vote. I can’t imagine why anyone with a child in a Florida public school would vote for Rick Scott, unless education is at the bottom of the list of concerns. I voted for Crist the first time around because I side with Republicans on most issues, but during his term I became a fan of Charlie Crist. He’s a democrat today because he was blackballed by Florida’s GOP after he had the guts to veto a controversial education bill that was very unpopular with democrats, educators, and parents with kids in public schools. Our country needs politicians today more than ever who have the courage to cross party lines on the issues. Is anyone impressed with our partisan politics today? It’s time.

    • Jake

      Scott cut education to balance a budget in debt. He restored the money and even put record funding to our schools. Most importantly, he quantifies his future plans by pledging $700 million for our schools. Crist cut education by the same amount and LEFT the budget that way. Scott will not make those cuts again and will only continue to increase funding. If you value education, DON’T vote for Crist, please.

      • Chris

        Ask the teachers and see what they say about scott or crist.

        • Franklin R Burn

          ask them what ? ….do all liberals just spin-with-the wind and march to the communist piper ? Teachers as a group mean nothing! They have given up their right to the unions masters who now own them and want to own us all-

    • Franklin R Burn

      in short you lie. you are now and have always been a deep blue Democrat with obvious Communist leanings. your post is just another false flag fabrication paid for by tax dollars

  • Jake

    Charlie Crist signed a bill allowing colleges to keep raising tuition. Also, he did nothing about the flawed Florida prepaid system. Scott, on the other hand, created an affordable BA program and cut the cost of prepaid by $20,000. He also has made college more geared toward workplace preparation. If you value education, you simply CANNOT vote for Charlie.

    • Emily

      I’m sorry, but as a college student, I’m not seeing any of the things you’re mentioning. How exactly has he made college more geared toward workplace prep? I’m still trying to figure out what happened to my “full ride” from Bright Futures… more like less than 50% of tuition covered. I get more from a church scholarship.

  • Kathleen Voss Woolrich

    I love Charlie Crist.. RIck Scott is a monster who gutted my kids schools and gives tax breaks to rich.. GOD WE NEED HIM GONE!

    • clearvoice

      Kathleen, Obviously you are uneducated in politics. Scott has funded more money into education then Charlie (Change to suit my pocket) Crist ever has. Scott has gone after the bad teachers, successfully instead of spending money on each student of which school administrations take and use for other funded projects not even helping students. You’re just a die hard democrat who vote for Hitler if he were running as democrat. Flush your toilet, it stinks.

  • tammy1021

    Crist has my vote as well as my husbands. We have children in school….enough said.

    • clearvoice

      Tammy, Please flush your toilet, it stinks.

  • KT

    Scott not only cut 1.3 billion for education he also waged a campaign to vilify Florida teachers. Teachers are highly educated, good, hardworking, decent people and they get paid peanuts for their contribution to society. I cringed during the time in 2011 and 2012 when Scott and other tea party republicans talked about them like they were the scum of the earth, and the cause of everything wrong with our educational system. He only started talking nice in 2013 when he started looking toward re-election. Scott is scum. Scott cut education 1.3 billion in 2011 and stole 3% out of state workers already meager pay. The 3% was supposed to go to the employee pension fund- ha ha ha. He then took the education and pension money and gave 1 billion in tax cuts to various businesses and he put 1 billion into reserve. It was like robbing peter to pay Paul with the state workers and school kids being Peter and Sott’s cronies being Paul.

    • Robert Fitzgerald

      Ummm, just not true. Oh, and you lost. Crist is a fraud anyway. Did you vote for him when he was a Republican too? Or do you just vote straight dumbocrat?

  • KT

    Scott himself needs an education. Did anyone see his debates. What a moron. He needs to enroll in “How to govern effectively 101″. If he was educated he would know that cutting 300 million in state funds from our universities, simultaneously reducing the number of people who qualify for bright futures scholarships and preventing the universities from raising tuition all at the same time is a recipe for disaster. He did not do students any favors because unfortunately he didn’t do anything to address the natural rise in basic costs from year to year that the universities have to deal with. All the increases in technology, need for maintenance of buildings and increases in salaries needed to attract quality professors. Colleges have to compete for resources, students and professors on a nationwide and even global scale not just in Florida. The results of Scott’s shortsighted dumfoolery is that many colleges offered less classes because they could not afford to hire the people needed to teach the classes so students ended up with situations where classes necessary for graduation were only offered for one semester out of two. Classes were extremely over crowded or conflicted with other required classes more than in the past and the attention and quality suffered. Because they could not get some of the classes they needed they had to go back for an additional semester or take summer classes so Scott actually raised the cost of college for many not reduce it as he claims. Any money they saved from tuition not being raised they lost by having to pay for an additional semester or two to get the classes they needed to graduate or by missing out on job opportunities by not being able to graduate on time. I agree tuition should not go up if possible but the state has an obligation to prevent tuition increases by helping to fund the colleges in the state budget so they can provide a quality and timely education to students without having to raise tuition. go up if possible but the state has an obligation to support our universities and make them among the best in the nation. Scott came in an immediately hurt the reputation of our universities. He came in like a wrecking ball and damaged our state on so many levels they are too numerous to count. Stabbing someone in the gut- patching their wound and then trying to claim credit for saving their life is exactly what Scott is trying to do with the state of Florida. He has wounded this state deep and now he wants to take credit for repairing what was not broken until he broke it.

  • Robert Fitzgerald

    Charlie did nothing to bring Miss USA to Florida. He blew it off over and over. This is money that comes from corporations spending in our state. This is a massive influx for the state. The tourism advertising is insane and not a penny comes from taxes, which is what he probably didn’t like. Rick Scott jumped on it and we will have Miss USA for 5 years or more. That was Rick Scott’s doing. I’ll bet if Charlie wins he will take credit. I don’t know what Scott is not talking about that.

    • tammy1021

      Miss USA really? Thats the best you can do? Meanwhile, my property taxes went up 30 percent on a home I just purchases last year. The county has done this because of the lack of funding for education.

      • Robert Fitzgerald

        What kind of special dumb ass are you? Miss USA in a state brings in BILLIONS!!! Do you have any idea where most of that money goes? Property taxes went up due to ole Chuckie’s mandates too. He and your boy Grayson thin you are rich. It’s obvious you have been failed be the edumacational simpson.

        • tammy1021

          Billions LOL….it brought Mississippi 2.6 million. Sorry but property taxes are all on Scott. 4 more years of this thief and he should be able to sell off the rest of education and wetlands. No matter to me, I’m moving out of this go no where state. Taking my college degree and moving to a state where I can make a decent living.

          • Robert Fitzgerald

            Billions in free advertising and tourism yes. It did for Vegas. You would have preferred Chuckie? If Nazis were popular he would run on their ticket. I would think someone with a college degree would also be smart enough to see through the BS, then again very little actual facts are taught these days. I pity the future.

          • tammy1021

            Vegas billions is far from what Florida would bring in, get real. It really doesnt matter because Scott will continue to sell off anything he can get his hands on. I bet you’re still waiting for that trickle down economics to make it’s way to you. Stop with the Nazi bs, it ranks right up there with all the “ism” junk. Very little facts taught these days lol….I’m 50! Been around long enough to know what a thief is and seen enough people like you spouting the Nazi nonsense to know better.

          • Robert Fitzgerald

            If the swastika fits… You’re 50, wow, you have a whole year on me. You don’t seem to like the facts sweetheart, but they are that. Florida is ranked 7 at job growth. That would be something we call a fact and that’s not thanks to old Chuckie.

          • Robert Fitzgerald

            Yeah, Scott is doing such a bad job we are #7 in job growth. Charlie was a FAILURE and a quitter.

      • Robert Fitzgerald

        For someone who has an education I would think you would know what an EXAMPLE is. Taxes went up due to policies in place when Scott went into office. I bet you still blame Bush, don’t you. You have a degree, maybe you should try to go and learn something.

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