Tom Marshall of the St. Petersburg Times wrote this morning that Gov.-elect Rick Scott’s new education transition team in Florida “hints at the ferment under way in public education, as change-minded lawmakers in Tallahassee and Washington consider new ways to boost student performance, improve teacher evaluation and offer new options for families.” He’s right.
Consider me biased, of course, because I am privileged to serve as one of the 18 members. But any education team that includes former D.C. chancellor Michelle Rhee and current Tampa/Hillsborough superintendent MaryEllen Elia is certain to operate from the vantage point that matters most: What do children and their parents need?
Tom’s story is a reminder that the traditional lines are forever blurred in public education. He even notes the partnership between our Tax Credit Scholarship program for 33,000 low-income children and the school district and teachers union for Tampa/Hillsborough, which is the nation’s eighth largest district. We got together to provide better professional education for teachers in both public and private scholarship schools, and the union president, Jean Clements, was graceful in her explanation to reporters: ““This is not a competition. It’s about all of us doing our best to help children who come from very difficult circumstances.”