Education News

Five reasons why Florida’s Andrew Gillum is public education’s pick for governor

After eight years of Gov. Rick Scott, Florida voters in 2018 will be looking for a change. One of the candidates hoping to take the Sunshine State in a new direction is Andrew Gillum, Mayor of Tallahassee since 2014. He previously served on the Tallahassee City Commission from 2003 to 2014.

He is the son of a school bus driver and a construction worker. As the product of public schools, it is no surprise that Gillum has proposed a $1 billion investment in Florida public schools, students, and teachers to enhance early childhood education, raise teachers’ starting salaries to $50,000, restore public school construction funds, and raise veteran teacher pay. Gillum, 38, also supports a $15 minimum wage, greater access to health care, and an increase in tax on corporations to bolster spending.

“Florida’s education reform has been a failure,” Gillum has said in media reports. “Instead of demonizing our teachers, we should be supporting them and paying them fairly to do one of the most difficult jobs on Earth — to mold, shape, and develop humanity.”

Gillum is married to R. Jai Gillum. They have three children: Twins Jackson and Caroline, 4, and Davis, 1. His commitment to the state’s public education system has garnered him the enthusiastic support of the Florida Education Association (FEA).

Gillum has promised bold leadership on the issues that matter most to public education supporters in Florida.

School Funding Comes First

In Florida, 20 years of GOP rule – starting with Jeb Bush in 1999 – has left the state’s public schools resource-starved. The budget cuts and privatization schemes that were hallmarks of Bush’s tenure continued under Rick Scott. As a result, education funding in the state, when adjusted for inflation, still has not topped pre-recession levels.

Gillum supports a $1 billion investment in public schools that would boost early childhood education, restore constructions funds, and raise teacher salaries to at least the national average. To fund the program, Gillum would legalize marijuana and earmark taxes raised from its sale for the public-school budget.

“We need to fully legalize marijuana, tax it, and use the revenue to take Florida’s public schools from 29th in the nation to first,” he says.

As governor, Gillum has said he would work to rebuild Florida’s education system to assure that “our kids are ready for kindergarten earlier. By third grade, 100 percent of kids in our state should be reading at grade level and as they progress, learning critical thinking skills to compete.”

Beat Back School Privatization

“Charter schools have a record of waste and unaccountability that we would never tolerate from public schools,” Gillum says. “Yet, our state’s education budget continues rewarding charter schools at the expense of public schools.”

Under Rick Scott, $145 million was allocated to charter school maintenance in the state’s 2018-2019 budget — three times the amount allocated to public schools.

Says Gillum: “As a product of Florida’s public schools, I believe we make a promise to our state’s children to provide high-quality, accessible, public schools. We weaken that promise every time we divert taxpayer funds into private and religious education that benefits some students, but not all.”

Earlier this month, the state Supreme Court removed a ballot measure that would have wrested control of charter schools from local districts and given it to the state. In a narrowly divided 4-3 decision, justices upheld the decision by a lower court that Amendment 8, scheduled to appear on the Nov. 6 ballot, misled voters by not clearly stating its true purpose and never mentioning charter schools by name.

Still, when it comes to describing the outsized influence of the privatizers who have brought unaccountable charter schools and private school vouchers to Florida, Gillum has said that he “is strongly opposed to unaccountable, for-profit charter schools that want to use public dollars to enrich their executives.”

According to media reports, Gillum called proposed funding for charter schools “a giveaway to (House Republicans’) friends and family … who are well-heeled and well-connected.”

Pay Educators What They’re Worth

Florida’s 174,000 teachers are among the lowest paid in the nation. The average salary in the state for a teacher with an average of 11 years of experience is $48,000, which is $12,000 less than the national average.

Gillum’s proposal to legalize and tax marijuana would generate needed revenue so that “all Florida teachers and staff can receive a pay raise up to the national average, veteran teachers can be compensated for their years of service, and so we can raise teachers’ starting salaries to $50,000.”

Provide High School Grads with Opportunity

When students graduate from high school, he explains, “they should have access to training for a career or a college education that won’t leave them with crippling debt.”

Gillum will focus on making college debt free and encouraging businesses to share responsibility for educating the workforce they want to hire.

“To prepare students for high-skill, high-paying jobs, I’ll push for increased investment in SHOP 2.0 (a revitalization of vocational training in public schools) and technical education,” he explains. “We must integrate computer education into all of our vocational programs so that students can learn the skills they need to build a career and support a family.”

Get Corporations to Pay Their Fair Share

For too long, says Gillum, “Florida’s tax structure has benefited the wealthy and corporate interests at the expense of working people.”

Without a state income tax, and with inadequate corporate tax rates, Florida depends on tourism and sales taxes to generate revenue for public services such as education.

Yet, nearly 90 percent of businesses in Florida pay no corporate income tax. Those that do pay, contribute too little, Gillum says.

“I’m the only candidate for governor with a plan to right this wrong,” he explains. “That’s why I introduced my “Fair Share for Florida’s Future” plan, which will raise the state corporate tax rate to 7.75 percent from 5.5 percent generating $1 billion for investment in education, healthcare, and infrastructure.”

by John Rosales

40 responses to “Five reasons why Florida’s Andrew Gillum is public education’s pick for governor

  1. It’s just amazing the left loves to spew this garbage about the wealthy do no pay their fair share in taxes. The truth is the top 1% of wage earners pay 39% of all taxes. Although I am not one of them (wish I was) but it would be nice if the truth be known. As far as corporations go, if they start raising taxes the Corporations Will Leave Florida. If Gillum is elected we will become more like California, New York or Illinois, a Sanctuary State and let’s not forget he is easy on crime. As Tallahassee’s Mayor, there. was a raise in the crime rate by 58%. If people vote for Gillum, then they deserve what they get, just the rest of us do not.

    1. They need to pay the same proportion that the rest of us taxpayers pay. The top 1% earns orders of magnitude higher annual pay than the middle and lower income taxpayers. The rationale for giving them tax breaks is that new businesses will move into the state/country, and workers will benefit when higher-paying jobs are created. Very few new higher-paying jobs have been created in FL since the recession. The FL GOP also ignores the fact that good public schools help attract new businesses to the state.

      One of the few new businesses to locate in my district in the past 5 years is a medical engineering firm that applied for a federal grant with my school district to set up a new training program to prepare graduates to work in their local manufacturing lab. That kind of private-public sector partnership will lift our public schools up and help businesses find qualified workers, which will benefit even more families.

    2. The top 1% earns orders of magnitude higher salaries than other taxpayers, so they are not pulling their weight. Let’s turn your argument around. How many corporations have come to Florida in the past decade of corporate tax cuts? Is the Republican’s incentive plan working? How many higher paying jobs have they generated? Why aren’t we hearing those statistics? In my district, a medical engineering company wrote a grant with our school district to train students to work in their manufacturing lab after they graduate. This is the kind of private-public partnership that helps families. Giving businesses tax credit and failing to restore funding to education is not helping Florida families.

    3. I think he’s a very good guy I think he should win the vote my name is Lonnie McCain Jr but I don’t really know the man with the scene be a good guy and I think you should win you’ll be a better candidate for Florida will bring better things to the state

  2. Has Andrew Gillum gone on record that he wants to end Step Up For Students (including the The Gardiner Scholarship program for Special needs children)?

    This is the only program out there for many of us with a special needs child, we are already struggling not only financially, but emotionally and mentally. I cant speak for the entire special needs community, but many of us were forced out fo the public schools for many various reasons. As many already have learned, the public school system often has enough challenges with neuro typical student population let alone the special needs demands of our children. If anyone can share where Andrew Gillum stands officially on this subject matter, it would be greatly appreciated to hear a solid answer.

    From what I here, he is claiming such scholarships are taking money away from publics schools (forgetting that these programs are barely 2/3 years old, so how does that explain the dire straits of our publics schools long before step up programs even existed)?

    1. Gillum has said he’d like to bring the scholarships for lower income and minority students to an end. This is the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship program. This program allow public funds to be used for private school, where there is no oversight. He does want more accountability for scholarship programs.

  3. We do not need sanctuary cities. We need legal immigration.
    We don’t need pot sales. We need children & parents who aren’t on drugs.
    We don’t need to blame teachers when children aren’t doing well.
    We need two parent homes that give their children stability and provide their children with the early learning skills that start from birth.
    Parents need to support the schools and volunteer to mentor, listen to a child read, give encouragement, start a clothing room by sharing outgrown clothes that others could wear. There are so many opportunities for everyone to help.

  4. I think Gillum is a mistake. He thinks the working class should pay for people that don’t work. $15 minimum wage is ridiculous for companies to have to pay. Your salary should depend on qualifications. Teachers minimum $50,000 is absurd. Half these teachers are asleep at the wheel. He would be as bad as Obama was

    1. People say get a job but when you have a job for 28 years and you only go from 3.85 to 12.16 while housing has skyrocketed it’s fighting an uphill battle. People say then get a better job when does it end with some of you. We should be respectful of all people who work especially with no vacation pay and no affordable insurance through work. I guess I should apologize for not having any special talents so I could have been a model or actress, pro athlete , singer. I just go to work everyday!

    2. He thinks the Businesses are going to stick around .. think again and we will not see new ones either.. we have so many retired living here he will destroy Florida And he wants to legalize marijuana so the students can be more attentive to teachers and the Drug dealers will be making much more than 15.00 per hour he’s so smart , he forgets the Florida Lottery is giving a big portion to schools.

  5. Children should not be deprived the right to receive scholarship funds which they have been receiving. It is an utter disgrace that this man claims to be all about education, yet he is willing to hurt so many children who need the SUFS program. Gillium does not have my Vote!!!

  6. Children should not be deprived the right to receive scholarship funds which they have been receiving. It is an utter disgrace that this man claims to be all about education, yet he is willing to hurt so many children who need the SUFS program.

    1. But he does care, he is going to legalized marijuana so the students can be more attentive to teachers. He so smart , he forgets the Florida Lottery is giving a big portion to schools. I think what he means that if they open marijuana stores in every corner but better yet nears schools where his biggest clientele will be , those clerk can make $15 an hour for selling drugs to our kids. I think we call them DRUG DEALEARS. Thank you ANDREW GILLIUM if I want a drugs I will go to your city .NO THANKS

    2. I agree with you, Fran. My son is recently diagnosed with Autism and it upsets me that Gillum is against the SUFS program.

      I have commercial insurance and we cannot afford all the therapies the doctors have insisted on for him. Applied Behavioral therapy is unattainable for much of the population and is the only medically proven treatment based on research.

      My husband and I work hard and my son, along with all students with special needs, deserves this. It is UNCONSCIONABLE to do that to parents and children that are already struggling.

      How hypocritical to say you are for education and then treat special needs families like this?! How hypocritical to say you support strengthening health care for the state when these scholarships offer our children health care?! The funds for therapies that middl class families like mine cannot afford.

      This is WRONG and this is the most important issue to my family. And I always vote with my son’s interest first.

      Please reconsider your stance on this issue. I am one of thousands of special needs mothers, warriors for our babies.

  7. The testing as well as common core are tied to federal money, it can’t be fixed at the state level without taking a big hit in federal funding. Thanks to a Democrat. (Thanks Barry). Abolish the Department of education and bring it back to the local community where we can actually voice our opinions and votes with the school board. Hold the school boards accountable for there hiring practices, why does any school superintendent make more than the President. 48% of our schools budgets come from property taxes. I have been paying for property taxes since 1999 and my two daughters just started public school this year. I could have paid for them to go to a university with what I have paid into it. I will never for the life of me understand why anyone with a 2nd grade education or higher would believe that giving the government more money to fix a problem is a good idea. They can’t even deliver the mail efficiently. As for those terrible charter schools, I guess they are full of students with really dumb parents fighting over the limited spots to get there kids in. If teachers need a raise maybe that should stop paying their union dues.

  8. It seems simple to me. Our great state was doing OK prior to 1999. No one was leaving. Those that wanted to work had options. Those that wanted college could afford it. Business owners made money if their products were of good quality. There were jobs for high school barely made its to PhDs. Go Team Gillum/King

  9. One major problem in Florida is the sky rocketing rent. You could rise minimum wage but, wouldn’t have to rise it as high as $15 a hour, if Florida had rent control. I’m a renter living in central Florida and I pay $1400 for a two bedroom in a semi ok area and we dont even have a security graud. Working class people can not afford to live in Florida. I see two and three families living together just to be able to pay these ridiculous rent cost and fees.

    1. You should get what your qualifications warrant. Rising rents are because we have many tourists. If you want to live where there is a security guard then the rents are higher. How do you think they get paid? DeSantis is the wise choice

    2. Gillum is a supporter of open boarders and sanctuary cities. Open boarders means more labour supply. More supply means lower prices, in this case lower wages.

      The same economic law applies to rents…more demand for rental housing than there are available units to rent (supply)…the higher price of rents.

      In both cases Gillum thinks government knows better…in the end he works against you…

  10. When you legalize pot, lots and lots and lots more school aged kids get their hands on it — that is the fact the pot industry tries to hide. And the research shows that pot users are highly unlikely to graduate high school. Not a good idea to make money off drop outs. Gillum seems like a crazy man to me.

    1. “research shows that pot users are highly unlikely to graduate high school” WHAT?
      I can recall 10 of my friends who were heavy pot smokers and graduated top of our class…. Sure, lets keep the pot away from the kids and continue giving them the adderall, Methylphenidate and other street drugs they can overdose with. SMH! Pot in itself has only been demonized for one reason.
      While rich white men are making millions off of it’s sale, POC are sitting in prison …..

  11. And where would he and teacher’s unions get the funds for all of this? By legalizing Marijuana for an undefined tax to provide undefined funds. By implementing a personal income tax? Just like that, everyone with income will move to Texas and leave the retirees here to tax higher to pay for liberal spending. He needs to live in Venezuela for a year first to learn what socialism is all about.

    1. It is against the Florida Constitution ro have a personal income tax and would require a vote by voters to change that which is unlikely. You are believing the fear mongering against Gillum.

      1. I am a tax accountant. This is not easy to understand; conversely, very easy to understand the dynamic effects of taxing with economics 101. Simply put, it can be done through a new business tax. His claim on raising 2% will not generate enough government revenue for his ideas, flat out doesn’t reflect corporate income revenue in FL. Once businesses are taxed, wages go down, ticket prices go up. (Corporations push back the loss of income to consumers and workers, although they are considered taxpayers by definition, they never are people who pay taxes.) Businesses leave as a direct effect because small businesses cannot operate as they once did. Just because it is not labeled as “personal income tax” does not mean it cannot happen. Do not be fooled. There are ways around doing the same tax without having to file an additional form, in the end, you as a consumer of goods and services pay for the tax. Any person who says they want to raise taxes will take additional money from your paycheck.

  12. As a teacher, I think that people have no idea what a disruption testing has in the classroom. I frequently have a class half-full because students are testing. It makes it almost impossible to move forward with my instruction and students are burnt out with the amount of testing. We need to stop this nonsense and let teachers teach again.

  13. If this guy wins and institutes a state income tax I will leave. Also a $15 minimum wage will increase job automation and make more people part time. Plus some businesses may simply move to more business friendly states.

  14. Moms are deeply behind him. He will stop high stakes testing that throws to the streets many A and B students. Little 8 year olds are throwing up and getting the diseases of executive daddys from the intense pressure to take a no account ridiculous procedure that is designed to flunk kids only and doesn’t even cover the material. We will end the scam. With Democrat help. Help teachers teach.

    1. Please do not presume to speak for all moms because you certainly don’t speak for me. Gillum wants to create a sanctuary state which will create a tremendous drain on our economy and raise crime rates. He will also take away our choice, as parents, what the best fit is for our children by ending Step Up For Students. I’m glad my youngest is a senior this year so she’ll be spared.

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