Scott, Crist make education Florida’s biggest issue
As the months leading up to Florida gubernatorial election grow smaller, current governor Rick Scott and Democratic hopeful (and former governor) Charlie Crist are turning up the heated debate on one of the state’s hottest issues: education.
Insiders in the Republican party in the state have long believed that part of Gov. Scott’s popularity problems lie in the budget cuts to education that he made during the first year of his term. To try to undercut Crist, the Republican Party issued a release that compared Crist’s records on education to Scott’s. Despite some inaccuracies in the actual press release, it is telling of a bigger issue in the election process in Florida: neither candidate has an especially strong education record and each wants to point out the faults of the other.
Wouldn’t it be refreshing to hear some suggestions for change instead, though? K-12 investments, college tuition hikes (at some of the largest public college in the nation) and early childhood development programs like voluntary pre-Kindergarten are all big issues impacting the students of the Sunshine State. Instead of attacking each other’s past records, perhaps these candidates could refocus that energy on what they plan to do if given the chance to hold the seat of governor (again).
The issues of the gubernatorial elections tend to reflect the ones that will pop up during Presidential election years, too. President Obama has been a strong supporter of universal preschool, higher high school graduation rates and affordable college programs. Will the next Republican candidate be attacking Obama’s record on education — or avoiding it because it is strong?