Restoring Sanity in Education


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Florida high school teachers Brandt and Carole Robinson at the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear

Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert’s “Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear” on the National Mall in Washington, DC Saturday drew as many as 250,000 people. Dunedin High School teachers Carole and Brandt Robinson came all the way from Palm Harbor, Florida because, “we were concerned with insanity in local politics in Florida and some of the people that are running for our state and federal offices really trying to run on some of the fears and are supported by the Tea Party movement. Especially when it comes to the funding of public education.”

If the Tea Party-backed candidates prevail in Florida in Tuesday’s election, it will play a significant role in furthering Florida’s privatization of its public education system. At the forefront of the effort to privatize Florida’s school system is Jeb Bush, the former Governor of Florida and brother of President George W. Bush. Carole said, “The very people that are supporting the privatization of schools are those that will profit the most from that action. The third Bush brother, Neil Bush, founded a corporation called Ignite Learning which is one of the leaders in producing state tests, that his brother Jeb [is] trying to instill in states. He’s actually trying to pass this type of bill all across the United States.”

Holding his sign – which read “Florida Teachers for Sanity” – Brandt discussed Florida’s controversial Senate Bill 6 which would introduce merit pay for teachers. Brandt said, “The Senate Bill 6 is something that has already been replicated in many other states… And what it really is doing is it’s trying to deny teachers the basic due process rights. I mean, if you want to get down to it, they’re really trying to kill the teachers’ unions. But we don’t believe that the teachers’ union is anything other than just organizations of teachers that are concerned about having basic and fair working conditions. [Merit pay is] essentially an attack on the teachers’ unions throughout the country.”

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