Monday, January 26, 2015

Florida Blues?

F. Klonsky pic

I can think of worse things than being stuck down here in Sarasota while the east coast is buried in snow. I'm flying back to Chicago and trying to get there before my class starts on Wednesday evening. I'm  wondering if the chain reaction from backed-up N.Y. flights will affect airports here. But not panicked either way. Although the sun's glare on the windshield makes driving down the coast difficult and the price of sunscreen hasn't gone down with the fall in oil prices.

In the meantime, I'm getting a close-up view of ed "reform"Florida-style where Tea Party Gov. Rick Scott wants to take $100 million from the state's public schools and hand it over to private-run charters and their operating companies. That's a $25 million increase from the current year.

According to the Bradenton Herald, "charter schools and traditional public schools have been battling over facilities funding since the economic downturn, when the state's school construction fund began drying up".

Gov. Scott & Michelle Rhee
Scott is privatization crazed and even tried to privatize FL's health-care system as well as the state's prisons.  According to the Center for Media and Democracy, prison privatization has resulted in a record number of inmate deaths.

Before becoming governor, he made millions in the privatized health care industry. In 1987, at age 34, he co-founded Columbia Hospital Corporation with two business partners; this merged with Hospital Corporation of America in 1989 to form Columbia/HCA and eventually became the largest private for-profit health care company in the U.S.

He resigned as Chief Executive of Columbia/HCA in 1997 amid a controversy over the company's business and Medicare billing practices; the company ultimately admitted to fourteen felonies and agreed to pay the federal government over $600 million, which was the largest fraud settlement in US history.

Oh yes, I almost forgot to mention Scott's right-hand education adviser -- Michelle Rhee.

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