TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Responding to a wave of controversial education reforms spearheaded by Florida's Republican leaders, the state teacher union on Wednesday unveiled a "legislative report card" that gives the overwhelming majority of GOP lawmakers poor marks.
- Florida education groups grade state lawmakers
- Florida Education Association gave GOP lawmakers poor marks
- Foundation for Florida's Future praised GOP lawmakers
The Florida Education Association's individual assessments of all 160 state legislators has become an election-year ritual. Because the union opposes most of the Republican education agenda, critics have dismissed the report cards as political propaganda.
But FEA President Joanne McCall disputed that notion.
"Not everybody is up for election, so actually, this report card is a good tool for our members to be able to talk to their legislator about the issues, about why they voted this way," she said.
The report card graded lawmakers based on their 2017-18 voting records on key education measures, most of which were opposed by the union.
Among the most contentious measures were the 'Schools of Hope' law championed by House Speaker Richard Corcoran (R-Land O'Lakes) that allows charter school operators to build campuses in areas served by traditional public schools that have received multiple failing grades; and HB 7055, which expands the state's corporate tax credit voucher program to cover public school students who are bullied and makes it easier for local teacher unions to be dissolved.
In contrast to the FEA's report card, former Republican Gov. Jeb Bush's Foundation for Florida's Future has given most GOP lawmakers high marks for their education votes in 2018, saluting them for taking "bold action to pass student-centered legislation and improve the lives and educational outcomes of Florida students and their families."