Thursday, April 28, 2011

Dean Cannon does the Steve Wise Shuffle

House Speaker
Dean Cannon

Back on March 14th   I sent the Speaker of the Florida House, Dean Cannon an email about the imminent passage, by the Florida House, of Florida's Education Reform Bill SB 736.   SB 736 was the so called Teacher Merit Pay Law.  I asked him about the Bill's funding. 

Two days later the House publicly acknowledged they didn't have the money or the slightest clue when or how they could get the necessary funding....... moments before passing the law..

Here's a copy of the email I sent..

03/14/11 2:20 PM

To the Honorable Dean Cannon;

Mr Speaker

The Florida House of Representatives is about to take up he issue of Education Reform HB 7019. I'm not a teacher, frankly I believe in incentive based pay, if the plan is fair to all. My concerns are about costs. No one in Tallahassee has been willing to to openly discuss the costs RTTT Compliance will cost Floridians.

Last week on the Floor of the Florida Senate, Sen. Paula Wise asked the question directly to Sen. Steve Wise. Senator Wise's reply was a combination of gobbledygook, double talk and outright evasion. Watch the video

After listening to Sen. Wise evade the subject of cost, the Senate passed SB 736. Makes me wonder if teachers are the people we need to be evaluating.

I would hope the Florida House of Representatives s willing to openly and honestly explain the costs of HB 7019 to the people of Florida. That explanation needs to take into account Floridians are well aware of the first rule of plumbing. "Stuff flows downhill" Local districts are tired of being the septic tank.

Thank for your time Mr Speaker.
As I said the bill passed, and over time I forgot I'd even sent Cannon the email..  I didn't forget about the "Senator Steven Wise Shuffle, and this seems like the perfect time to replay the video.. That will save you clicking the link

Video by Tom Whatley, originally posted on facebook

By now hopefully you're wondering why the hell on April 28th I'm bringing up a forgotten email I sent on march 14th.. and an old blog video of a Florida State Senator sounding like a drunk while he danced around valid questions on the Senate Floor..

Yesterday the Honorable Speaker answered my email.... here's what he had to say about SB 736's cost and funding..

Thank you for your recent e-mail regarding House Bill 736 (HB 736), entitled Education Personnel. I appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts and concerns on this important issue.

The House passed this bill on Wednesday, March 16, 2011. Governor Rick Scott then signed this bill into law on Thursday, March 24, 2011.

Consistent with the Race to the Top program, school districts and charter schools will adopt instructional personnel and school administrator performance evaluation systems that are at least 50% based upon student learning growth. Measurement of student learning growth will recognize each student's unique starting point by comparing prior student performance with learning achieved while assigned to the educator. Student growth considers: student performance, growth trends over time, attendance, disabilities, and English proficiency. Actual growth is demonstrated by the student's performance on state and/or district student assessments. For subject areas in which no statewide assessment exists, districts can develop their own assessment or select pre-existing assessments to measure student mastery of content.

The House budget will prioritize education, and K-12 education will receive the greatest percentage of the General Revenue allocation. When adjusted for the savings to the local school districts from FRS contribution rates, the K-12 proportional share of the general revenue funding for FY 2011-12 will be a reduction of two tenths of a percent (.2%) from FY 2010-11. The K-12 General Revenue funding level will exceed the General Revenue appropriation from FY 2009-10.

You can find more information at by selecting the heading "BILLS" and entering the bill number, 736.

I hope this information is useful. Thank you again for writing to me.


Dean Cannon

Yeah Dean, that's nice, but how much is the damned thing going to cost the taxpayers and where the hell is that money supposed to come from?   By all private estimates we're talking about a cost of billions of dollars a year.  Your Legislature didn't even try to guess what it would cost.. and you didn't come close to answering my question.

The "I don't know or care what it costs, just pass the law" attitude is not my idea of fiscal responsibility.

One other thing Mr Speaker, if you had done the right thing and said

"Look folks, we don't have the money, let's wait on this until we know what it will cost and how we're going to pay for it"

Then Mr Speaker sending out an email six weeks later explaining how you'd protected taxpayers might be a good idea

Mr Speaker, you waited six weeks and did your own version of the Steve Wise Shuffle. 

WTF is SB 736 going to cost and HTF are you going to pay for it?? 



  1. Ok, so 40,000 kids will take a test they don't need because of the prevailing "pass it now, fix it later" attitude. How much does money does that waste? Then 200,000 kids will take the Algebra test that counts for 30% of their grade, but the results won't be available to teachers to calculate final grades til after school is out. The DOE announced that fact last month.

    Cost impact? Ask a legislator, you'll get an answer alright, just like the one here. There you go, taxpayer dollars at work.

  2. So almost a quarter of a million Florida kids will spend the summer not knowing if they passed or not.. Gotta Love it.

  3. Great Post. It show how totally inept our legislature is. They haven't a clue what they are doing. Reminds me of an old adage. "When in wonder, when in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout."

  4. There's another old adage Bud, one about leaving sleeping dogs alone..

    If Speaker Cannon hadn't answered my email six weeks after the fact, with a bunch of gobbledygook... I wouldn't have been able to put this blog together.. I'd like to thank him.

  5. Sorry Anonymous all comments from that IP are banned from this website...

    Anonymous said...

  6. gpabud: I think I will title a blog with that adage.
    It's a good one.

  7. It took his staff 6 weeks to come up with a stock answer that addressed the general issue but not your specific issue.

    But hey- at least they responded...

  8. Yishai.. Kinda like the democrats in DC... or a two year old in a candy store.. They saw something they wanted, didn't care what it cost and decided to make life difficult for anyone who said no.. Two year olds scream and holler, until you give in, these guys talk all around the subject and avoid answeing until you give up.

  9. It isn't limited to Republicans in Florida or Democrats in DC.

    I have written to politicians here in Israel and have had a similar experience. Others have written me back personally addressing the exact issue, and still others have never responded at all.

    Some of it has to do with how busy (overloaded?) their staff is, and I'm sure some of it has to do with their own commitment- or lack thereof, towards their constituents.

  10. "Some of it has to do with how busy (overloaded?) their staff is"

    --------------- I'll buy that up to a point, Yishai, I think the rest of your comment is more accurate--------

    "and I'm sure some of it has to do with their own commitment- or lack thereof, towards their constituents"


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