Florida Public Employees
April 11, 2014
By Bob Sikes – Scathing Purple Musings
Now I do not defend the way big money is impacting modern politics or the coarse campaigns that are often a byproduct, but to be lectured on the evils of campaign spending by the FEA is surreal. It is the FEA’s primary political weapon. Since 2002, the FEA and its national affiliates have invested $20.1 million in Florida campaigns, according to the Florida Division of Elections. Its money is so integral to Florida Democratic legislators that no one raises an eyebrow when all the party’s House and Senate members meet, as they did on April 2, at FEA headquarters. The low-income parents for whom the school-choice movement fights don’t have money for campaigns. I am honored to fight for them and to help their voices be heard. Here’s one way to measure the impact of the FEA’s spending: Democrats admirably fight to increase money for Florida’s pre-K program, even though it’s the nation’s largest voucher system — with 144,000 4-years-olds in private centers, many of them religious. Democrats also fight for Bright Futures scholarships, even though they help students of all incomes attend public and private universities — religious ones, too. Yet Democrats this year oppose even a modest expansion for a scholarship that helps the poorest of K-12 students attend a private school. The difference: FEA represents employees in K-12 schools.
Kirtley’s dismissal of the state’s teachers as “employees” of public schools reveals the contempt his ilk have for the professionally credentialed people who have chosen a career of service. His selective ire for the FEA is intended to deflect the reality that the state’s largest parent group, the Florida PTA, opposes his voucher plan. But then again, Kirtley has already covered that base by demonizing them, too.
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