Setting the Record Straight

Star Banner Editorial Omits Two Years of Facts

Today, the editors of the Ocala Star Banner ran an editorial that cited 2007-2011 income and poverty figures, omitting Gov. Scott’s historic education investments and giving no recognition to teacher and student successes. Because the piece lacks information from 2012 and 2013, it warrants Setting the Record Straight.

CLAIM: “If Gov. Rick Scott truly wants to bring quality jobs to Florida, he should lay off the conservative rhetoric and get to work improving an education system that helps attract high-paying employers.”

The FACTS

  • Florida jumped from 11th to 6th in the nation for educational quality in 2013.
  • Florida’s 4th grade students are among the best in the world in reading.
  • The National Council on Teacher Quality ranked Florida teachers #1 two years in a row.
  • Florida has the highest graduation rate in the nation for Hispanic students.

CLAIM:Citing signs of an improving economy, Scott told conservative activists recently that he will ask legislators to cut $500 million in taxes and fees next year. He did not specify where those cuts would come from, suggesting it was political rhetoric for his hard-core base rather than a thought-out plan.”

The FACTS

  • The Ocala Star Banner omitted the Governor’s “It’s Your Money,” tax cut tour where he will make stops across Florida to hear from families and job creators on their ideas for eliminating taxes and fees.

CLAIM:Last week, Scott also failed to show up at an education summit in Clearwater that he himself organized to help fix the state’s flawed student testing and school grading systems. Instead, Scott met privately with former Gov. Jeb Bush.”

The FACTS

  • Governor Scott wanted the benefit of an honest discussion on school grades, state standards, standard assessments and teacher evaluations. The focus of the summit was to ensure that each Florida child is prepared to succeed.

CLAIM: Florida’s economy has been losing ground in recent years in a variety of ways, according to a report released Monday by Florida International University researchers.

The FACTS

  • Florida has turned around a four-year record of 800,000 lost jobs before Governor Scott took office – – and the private sector in Florida has now created nearly 370,000 jobs over the last 2 ½ years.
  • Florida’s unemployment rate has dropped below the national average, and Florida’s rate has had the 2nd biggest improvement in the country.
  • Florida has paid off 3.5 billion dollars in state debt.
  • This year, Florida had our first budget surplus in SIX YEARS.

CLAIM:If Scott wants to attract those kinds of businesses, he’ll need to provide them with an educated workforce. A good start would be investing part of the state’s expected budget surplus in both K-12 and higher education, which still haven’t recovered from years of cuts.”

The FACTS

  • Florida’s economic growth has allowed the state to make record investments in our state education system. Governor Scott has led the charge to increase our investment in K-12 education by more than $2 billion in 2012 and 2013.
  • A historic $480 million of this was allocated specifically for well-deserved teacher pay raises for all classroom teachers. This is the first time in history money has been appropriated specifically for salary increases.
  • Governor Scott created the teacher supply debit card program, which will allow teachers to purchase school supplies tax-free all year long.
 

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