The Florida Legislative Session came to a close Friday, with many historic new changes to our state’s schools. WMNF spoke with Congress member Kathy Castor at a Tampa elementary school about the future of public education.
Castor visited Oak Park Elementary School in East Tampa to recognize Hillsborough County’s “Teacher of the Year”. She danced along with students and thanked the teacher, Miss Barone, for her dedication to teaching.
WMNF spoke with Castor after the ceremony to discuss recently passed legislation that she fears may harm Florida’s public schools.
“They are failing our public school students and schools. Again, we’re the third largest state and we rank 45th in the nation in per-people support. Now, the massive tax giveaway, raiding the public dollars to give to private, for-profit schools, give these dollars to wealthy people who do not need it”
The voucher law allows all K-12 students in the state to get taxpayer-funded vouchers for private schools. Castor worries that the vouchers will take away funding from already underfunded schools.
“The voucher giveaway scheme could be the end to many of our great schools and our ability to attract the top talent into our state of Florida.”
She encouraged the public to fight back against that and other education bills, such as the recently passed expansion on what critics call the Don’t Say Gay bill and limits on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.
“We have to organize and fight back. We’ve got to push back, especially at the state level, and do whatever you can do to support your local educators in public schools.”