Playing Politics With Our Children's Future
Smaller classes have a well-documented impact on children’s education. Parents and community leaders concerned about increasingly overcrowded classrooms are eager for a solution. It is disappointing that Gov. Jeb Bush and his administration have decided to oppose this common-sense initiative and are mounting a dishonest campaign based on distortion and fear tactics.
As a candidate in 1997, Jeb Bush called “school overcrowding” one of the “critical issues that will shape the kind of future we provide our kids.”90 However, five years later, the governor and his allies have declared war on Amendment 9.
Earlier this year, the Bush administration fought unsuccessfully to have recommendations that the state seek to reduce class sizes stripped from a major Chamber of Commerce report on the importance of investing in Florida’s educational future.91
A Miami Herald writer recently predicted that Amendment 9 will face a “final flurry of scare tactics: convince seniors that the amendment will cost so much they will lose prescription drug benefits; suggest to suburban moms that their kids will be bused across the county to meet class-size quotas; and tell Tampa Bay and South Florida commuters that road money will dry up.”92 In fact, these scare tactics are already being used by Jeb Bush and some of his political allies. The governor told parents that Amendment 9 would require their children to be bused for great distances,93 a threat repeated recently by Education Secretary Horne.