DEMOCRATIC PARTY POSITION:
Every child has the right to an easily accessible, high-quality public education that prepares them for life, work, and citizenship in a democratic society bolstered by a market-based economy. Education policies must be focused on improving outcomes so that every student leaves our education system with more opportunities than before they started.
Locally it promotes RESTORING NONPARTISAN EDUCATION! The Collier County school board used to be an entity of non-partisan professional educators that brought us through with the only “A” rated School District in SWFL. In the last election, ultra-partisan Republicans were elected and are advancing an agenda of banning books, censoring classroom discussions, and promoting extreme ideology in classroom curriculum.
- REPUBLICANS IN FLORIDA:
The GOP is waging a “War on Education” in the name of freedom and morality, by enacting laws and regulations that muzzle teachers and professors in public schools and universities, enable the banning of books in public school libraries without due diligence and public hearings, prohibit Black history courses, and control curriculums and teaching materials in public schools, including endorsing curriculums from unaccredited private entities such as PragerU that state their effort is to indoctrinate singular religious and nationalist views.
Republicans claim that public education has become unduly influenced by progressive policymakers and educators and they are subjecting students and curriculums to discriminatory and immoral teachings. They argue that this is undermining the moral fiber of our students and communities and allege that this has created systemic racism, sexism, oppression, and privilege in our institutions and society. In Florida, under the GOP state government control, this “war” has resulted in new legislation which has included the following:
- The Individual Freedom Act of 2022 (STOP WOKE ACT) prohibits instruction in schools and workplaces on race relations or diversity that imply a person’s status as either privileged or oppressed is necessarily determined by his or her race, color, national origin, or sex.
- HB999 of 2023 prohibits diversity, equality, and integration (DEI) courses and programs and limits the way gender and race are discussed in classrooms and workplaces. It claims to prohibit schools, universities, and companies from making students and employees feel guilt or blame for historic wrongs because of their race, color, sex, or national origin. Provisions include a minimizing of Black history and grants authority to political appointees to oversee faculty and daily educational instruction processes for compliance.
- The “K-12 Education Law” a/k/a “Florida Parental Rights in Education Act of 2022” claims to give parents more control over what their children learn at school, but offers no access or recourse parents didn’t already have. Opponents of the measure have labeled it the “Don’t Say Gay” law because it blocks educators from teaching lessons on sexual orientation and gender identity. It outlines parents’ rights to review their children’s education programs (including access to teacher-parent meetings, curriculum, instructional materials, and library books) and the opportunity to testify before a school board. The additional restrictions of HB 7 and HB 1557, with their broad and vague language, are resulting in sweeping book bans in public school libraries without the requirement of a due diligence process and hearing.
- House Bill 1 – Expanding School Vouchers (“School Choice”) allows essentially any Florida household with a student in elementary, middle or high school to receive a school voucher containing the amount that their local public school would have received if they had attended. It can be used to pay for private school tuition, for homeschooling resources, or, because of new “education savings accounts,” to pay for other school-related costs. This plunders the public education budget, giving money to wealthy families as well as lower-income families, and making public education funds available to spend on private and home-schooling programs that are much less regulated than public schools.
- Additional actions by the current GOP governor, with the support of the GOP majority state legislature, have dramatically limited local management and control of school curriculum and instructional materials, making these subject to approval by the State of Florida Department of Education. Additionally, term limits have been placed on school board commissioner positions and election campaigns for such positions, unlike previously, may now be run under political party banners, endorsements, and resources.