HJR 767/SJR 942-Statewide election of Commissioner of Education
HJR 767 and SJR 942 would create an amendment to the Florida Constitution which would return the Commissioner of Education to an elected cabinet position. In order to pass a constitutional amendment, the proposal must be agreed upon by three-fifths of both chambers in the Florida Legislature and receive 60% voter approval in the 2016 general election.
We all know that Common Core has been a disaster for our education system here in Florida. Common Core was pushed upon us without any public discussion, legislative committee hearings or debate in the house and senate. It wasn’t until a huge public outcry from parents, students and teachers that the Florida Legislature took notice and held committee meetings on the subject. Unfortunately, Common Core was so entrenched by then, legislators lacked the courage to do the right thing and, for the most part, ignored our pleas.
So how did this happen? Well, unlike our elected local board of education, the Governor appoints the seven members of the State Board of Education. They, in turn, select the Commissioner of Education. You probably see where this is going. Layers of unelected bureaucrats make it difficult to hold anyone accountable for major decisions regarding the education of our children. The lack of transparency about how Common Core was implemented was disturbing. A policy decision such as this merits a thorough review and public discussion. Enough time should be given to allow parents and taxpayers to research proposals and formulate appropriate concerns.
Our children’s education and the $20 billion budget for K-12 is too important not to be able to hold the Commissioner of Education accountable to the people. This is why we support HJR 767 by Representative Debbie Mayfield and SJR 942 by Senator Renee Garcia, which if passed would return the Commissioner of Education to an elected position as well as a State Cabinet Position.