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Education Alternatives

Florida democrats want to stop giving money to top performing schools and send it instead to the schools that aren't doing so well.

The governor is not impressed.

Florida is spending $120 million this year on pizza parties, staff bonuses and other non-traditional awards for "A" ranked schools, or schools that increase their grade level. Unveiling a plan called Students First, Florida democrats say the current bonus scheme is upside down.

They believe the money should go to schools that need it most.

"Many schools have no funding for summer school, after school programs, or reading and math tutors," says Rep. Curtis Richardson, (D) Tallahassee.

Democrats are also taking aim at this year’s FCAT test. They are getting complaints that this year's third grade test is easier than last year's. They are calling for a side-by-side investigation.

"If we weaken the test, make it easier, then we are comparing apples and oranges and I think that would be a fraud on the people in Florida," says Sen. Ron Klein, (D) Palm Beach, Senate Minority Leader.

Before democrats even got their plan out on the table, Jeb Bush was reacting. The governor called the democrats dinosaurs that are sticking their head in the sand and want to return to the failed ways of the past.

"Where we were definitely the bottom of the pack. We were thanking God for Mississippi in terms of education outcomes. I don't want that," says Gov. Bush.

With the republicans in control the democrats’ plan has very little chance of even getting a hearing, but the rhetoric illustrates how partisan the capitol is becoming this election year.

This fight over educational philosophy is expected to be one of the central issues in this fall's political campaigns.


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