Skip to comments.Report: One Florida work not finished (Jeb's education plan IS working)
Posted on 10/19/2002 9:26:13 AM PDT by Ragtime Cowgirl
Report: One Florida work not finished
By Michael Peltier Tallahassee correspondent
TALLAHASSEE Four years ago, political observers said Gov. Jeb Bush had put his political life on the line when he abolished traditional affirmative action protections in college admission and the awarding of state government contracts.
"It's politically risky," University of South Florida political researcher Susan McManus said in the days following Bush's unveiling of One Florida Initiative. "It's either going to work or it isn't and it will be very easy to tell."
One Florida sparked a firestorm of protest, including a march on the capital by more than 10,000 opponents. However flawed, affirmative action was needed to protect against the type of institutional racism that dogged students of color and minority contractors competing against better connected white-owned firms for a piece of the government pie, critics argued.
Well, initial reports on the contracting aspect came out in mid-June and it appears Bush's plan has paid dividends.
"The commission finds that the state is doing a better job at tracking spending with minority vendors and has effectively conveyed to its purchasing agents the desire to increase spending with minority vendors," the commission wrote summarizing its findings.
"The state has also boosted its anti-discrimination efforts, started a loan mobilization program for minority vendors and generally created a climate of greater friendliness toward minority businesses."
Created in November 1999, the One Florida plan prohibits set aside programs and price preferences in purchases from agencies reporting directly to the governor.
The plan called for streamlining the minority business certification system and holding purchasing agents more accountable to actively seek out and award minority contracts. In place of percentages, the plan called for more active advertising and recruiting of minority-owned firms.
Other state agencies have the option to use the same voluntary incentives, but most have not done so, according to the report.
The results are still impressive. Purchases from certified minority businesses have leapt from $263 million in 1999 to $549 million last year, according to commission findings. That's a doubling of minority business contracts and does not include purchases from minority-owned companies that did not officially register as such.
Agencies reporting to the governor made up the bulk of new purchases, increasing their minority spending by 160 percent. Nonparticipating agencies saw their minority purchases rise by 40 percent.
The commission, however, had a number of suggestions to make the program even more successful. Included in its laundry list. the oversight board recommended:
The papers were praising Jeb's education efforts last summer. Now much of Florida's press parrots the McBride-FEA-DNC-NAACP criticism.....putting politics ahead of the facts: the success of minorities under Jeb's plan, the children who now have a choice to leave their failed schools, and the schools motivated to improve by the competetion.
McBride is against Jeb's One Florida because the left is against One Florida. It fosters competition, demands accountability, aims to actually educate the children, and it is helping minority students -without affirmative action.
Instead of celebrating the success, Jesse Jackson and the NAACP filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education's civil rights office "alleging racial disparities in Florida schools. Jackson said that minority students are more likely to be in overcrowded classrooms, be suspended, expelled and moved to special education programs." (Naples Daily News, July 2, 2002).
One Florida under Jeb is clearly helping minority students without the label of affirmative action, proving that Jesse Jackson, the NAACP, Bill McBride, and the Democratic party put politics ahead of the people they claim to represent.
Jeb's Higher Education Plan Is Clearly Helping Minorities [One Florida works], Tampa Tribune, Mar. '02.
NAACP loses college admissions battle [Appeals court decides in favor of Jeb and One Florida], Orlando Sentinel, Mar. '02.
Gov. Bush, education leaders tout success of One Florida plan, Naples Daily News, Mar. '02
UF Admissions of Minorities Rise [More good news for Jeb's One Florida plan], The Lakeland Ledger, April '02.
Jeb's One Florida program is a winner for minorities [The Tampa Tribune's editors praise Jeb], Tampa Tribune, May '02
Governor's One Florida Gives Minorities A Needed Boost, Tampa Tribune, June '02.
Summer, when did the papers stop supporting Jeb and school choice, and start supporting the NEA-FEA-DNC massive public education push w/ the "class-size" amendment? Two months before the primary election, it appears.
July 6, 2001
Review & Outlook
What Teachers Really Think
WSJ.com - Education Secretary Rod Paige had a wake-up call for the National Education Association during its convention in Los Angeles this week. He told the nation's largest teachers union that competition in education is inevitable. "It's tempting to pretend public schools are exempt from the law of supply and demand," he said. "They are not. This pretension will destroy our system."
Secretary Paige pointed out that while education spending is at a record high, it has had little effect: "For 35 years, we've tried to address our failing schools the same way. We've just given them more money, without focusing on results."
The union's delegates gave Mr. Paige respectful attention and then proceeded to consider the usual host of left-leaning proposals on the agenda. Among the actions made was the creation of a task force to determine if the NEA should formally support gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender curricula in public schools. Teachers we spoke with were in wonder at the disconnect between the urgent call for action issued by Secretary Paige and the NEA's interest in social policy in schools.
Evidence keeps piling up that the national union isn't really representative of its 2.6 million members. For instance, only 59% of them voted for the union-backed Al Gore. This and other data come from a confidential survey of its own members that the NEA commissioned last November. Last week, the survey was leaked to the Education Intelligence Agency, a watchdog group.
The poll makes fascinating reading. Though national and state teachers unions give more than 95% of their PAC contributions to Democrats, the NEA's membership is quite diverse politically. Only 48% of members are Democrats, 24% are Republicans and 28% are independents. That explains why an NEA endorsement of a candidate like Mr. Gore isn't greeted with universal approval. While 57% of members said they were more likely to vote for a candidate recommended by the national union, 27% said such an endorsement would make them less likely to vote that way.
When asked if the NEA's materials on the 2000 elections presented candidates in a fair and balanced way, only 25% of GOP members and 36% of independents thought so. Indeed, only 62% of NEA Democrats thought the union's materials were fair and balanced.
The gap between the NEA's leadership and its members also showed up in a list of 10 issues members were shown and asked if it was important that the NEA "speak out" on them.
Members said that by far the least important of the 10 issues for the union to address was "private school vouchers," an issue the union has vociferously fought for years. Only 19% said it was "very important" to address vouchers and another 19% thought it was "somewhat important." But 22% said it was "not very important" and a surprising 39% said it was "not at all important." No doubt a majority of public school teachers oppose vouchers, but they certainly don't seem to think they are worth the jihad against them that their union bosses have mounted.