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Rick Scott and Education: Playing Politics With Florida's Future

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Rick Scott Takes His Education Lies and Flip-Flops on Tour

Rick Scott’s on tour today to tell Floridians about his plans for Florida’s schools and colleges if voters give him another four years. Fortunately for Florida, the voters won’t believe him, because they know his real record on education:

  • Scott cut $1.3 billion from public schools in his first year in office, then cut $300 million from public colleges and universities the next year.
  • Under Scott, schools have had no leadership, with three education commissioners leaving or resigning in scandal. He strongly supported the new Common Core education standards advocated by Jeb Bush, and then flip-flopped on his support so he could instead pander to his Tea Party base.
  • Scott is taking hundreds of millions from public schools and giving it to for-profit charter school companies that send huge contributions to his reelection campaign.
  • Playing games with futures of Florida’s kids, Scott falsely claims to invest record money in schools, when his new plan still falls far short of bringing education funding back up to 2007 levels

"This is an election year gimmick, pure and simple. No modern governor has done more harm to Florida's public schools and colleges than Rick Scott. Rick Scott cut $1.3 billion from public schools, cut $300 million from colleges, and has run the Department of Education into the ground, with four education commissioners in four years,” said Florida Democratic Party Chair Allison Tant.

"It looks like Rick Scott's pollster has told him to believe something different now. What Scott really believes in is helping his wealthy campaign contributors, and he will say anything to win reelection. He'll falsely say he's investing record amounts in education. He’ll flip-flop again on Jeb Bush’s Common Core to pander to his Tea Party base. That's why Floridians just don't trust him, and that's why he's spent over a million dollars on polling to find out what to say,” Tant added.

Check the facts: 

FACT: In the four years before Rick Scott became governor, per-student school funding never fell below $6,846 in 2009. That’s $7,605 in 2014 dollars, more than $400 dollars over Rick Scott’s latest election-year gimmick. 

FACT: In the four years before Scott became governor, per-student school funding reached a high-water mark of 7,126 in 2007. That’s $8,191 in 2014 dollars, or more than $1,015 over Rick Scott’s political ploy.

Sources: Florida Department of Education here and the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ inflation calculator.

Background:

Rick Scott Proposes 2015-16 School Funding. "The Governor’s proposal would equate to a total of over $19.6 billion, which means $7,176 per student.” (Governor’s Office Press Release, 8/21/14)

"When you account for inflation, though, Crist’s per-pupil spending outpaces Scott’s for every year." (PolitiFact, 7/18/14)