Jeb Bush’s Foundation for Florida’s Future, a pseudo think tank that promotes school vouchers, standardized testing and Republican education budgeting priorities has issued their 2012 Legislative scorecard.
As expected most Democrats scored “poorly” from the foundation. All but three House Democrats earned an “F,” and only three Senate Democrats earned higher than a “D.” Even Conservative House Democrat Leonard Bembry of Madison County earned just a “D.” So it is especially disappointing to see several Democrats from urbanized areas supporting the right wing education “reform” agenda.
The highest scoring Democrat in either chamber of the Legislature is Jeremy Ring from Northwest Broward County. Representing a district where Barack Obama got over 65% of the vote, Ring has become in his six Senate years a forceful advocate for various school “choice” schemes. John Patrick Julien who represents an urban Miami-Dade County House district also received an “A.” Ring and Julien were both singled out in the Foundation’s report for compiling an “excellent” voting record.
Rick Scott’s election thrust the school choice and reform efforts pushed by Bush and other right wing advocates back to the forefront. Previously, under Governor Bush, Florida became a laboratory for every right wing school choice idea floated by out-of-state think tanks. While school choice was being seen as a failure in other states, Florida was expanding its program on an almost yearly basis. Owing itself to the weakness of the Democratic Party in the state and the willingness of Democratic legislators like those named below to make deals with the GOP, school choice has become accepted in Florida as the Foundation’s ratings indicate. This is in direct contrast to Democratic lawmakers in other states who have rightfully fought these dangerous measures to destroy the public school system. In many of these states, Jeb Bush himself is being brought in as an “expert” to push the changes he made in Florida on what are often times reluctant Republican legislators.
Bush’s hand is strengthened by his continued claims of “bi-partisan” support when pushing these dangerous initiatives. Below the jump you’ll see the list of Democrats who have given support to Bush’s agenda.
We are listing all the Democrats who had grades of A, B or C from the Foundation for Florida’s Future
Jeremy Ring (D-Margate) A
Gary Siplin (D-Orlando) B
Bill Montford (D-Tallahassee) B
These three Senators all had higher scores than Repulicans Paul Dockery (R-Lakeland), Mike Fasano (R-New Port Richey), Dennis Jones (R-Seminole), Nancy Detert (R-Sarasota), Evelyn Lynn (R-Ormond Beach), Steve Oelrich (R-Gainesville), and Charles Dean (R-Inverness)
John Patrick Julien (D-Miami) A
Darren Soto (D-Orlando) C
These two Reps had higher scores than Republican Reps Tom Goodson (R-Titusville) and Mike Weinstein (R-Orange Park)