Last week’s rally for tax credit scholarships continues to spur debate on editorial pages across Florida, but perhaps the most poignant exchange took place in the capital city’s newspaper, where a parent responded to the leader of the statewide teachers union.
Joanne McCall, the president of the Florida Education Association, wrote a guest column last week in the Tallahassee Democrat:
It has become an annual tradition during the legislative session and this Tuesday was no exception: Voucher proponents empty out private schools that receive money from the state, and bus students up to Tallahassee for a political pep rally.
Lawmakers continue to pump more money that should be going to state coffers into the tax-credit voucher program, making it bigger every year. But what do we know about the quality of these schools that receive tax dollars from the state? Not a whole lot.
The rally was neither annual nor political, but Faith Manuel, a former scholarship parent who spoke at the event, addressed that and other issues in her response.
As a parent who was honored to stand with Martin Luther King III and other respected black, white and Hispanic leaders in a historic rally in Tallahassee on Tuesday, I was stunned to read the reaction of Florida teachers union president JoAnne McCall.
In her attempt to ridicule the 10,000 students, parents and educators who came from around the state to voice support for Tax Credit Scholarships for low-income children, Ms. McCall intentionally misled Tallahassee Democrat readers. We could only wish this had been merely a “political pep rally,” as she termed it, in the same vein as the union rallied four days earlier to criticize lawmakers. But we were there for one purpose, as expressed on our shirts: “Drop the Suit.”