Karen R. Effrem, MD Executive Director
Both House Speaker-designate Steve Crisafulli's Florida Today op-ed and the email sent to Jeff Solocheck at the Tampa Bay Times are emblematic of the low esteem the State of Florida has for the role of parents and the U.S. and Florida Constitutions. Here is a piece of the Tampa Bay Times column: Incoming House Speaker Steve Crisafulli told the Gradebook that he's not interested in providing that choice [to have parental opt-out of the tests].
"Creating an opt-out process would negatively impact our students, teachers, and schools," the Merritt Island Republican said via e-mail. "Students who opt-out would not be eligible to receive a high school diploma or a Bright Futures Scholarship. In addition, an opt-out process would make it impossible to provide raises to our teachers and would cost schools state and federal funds."Of course, all these provisions are set by the Legislature, and they did not always exist.He added, "According to the Florida Constitution, the state has the paramount duty to provide a high quality public school system. Without an accountability system for all public school students, the state cannot ensure that children attending our public schools have the opportunity to receive a high quality education."
Perhaps Rep. Crisafulli needs a refresher in understanding on the following issues:The Supreme Role of Parents in Education - That parents have the right to direct the care, education, and upbringing of their children has been part of American jurisprudence since the nation's founding and part of legal tradition for thousands of years. That notion has been affirmed in many Supreme Court Cases such as Pierce vs. Society of Sisters, which says:"The child is not the mere creature of the state: those who nurture him and direct his destiny have the right coupled with the high duty to recognize and prepare him for additional obligations."The state and federal governments do not know better Read more