After failing to show up at the three-day education summit he convened in Clearwater this week, Gov. Rick Scott held a private meeting in Miami Thursday night to discuss the future of Florida’s schools.
The guest list: former Gov. Jeb Bush, state Sen. John Thrasher and state Board of Education Chairman Gary Chartrand.
The dinnertime meeting was cloaked in extraordinary secrecy. Scott’s schedule did not list a location other than “Miami, FL,” and his chief spokeswoman, Melissa Sellers, couldn’t provide any other details.
Full disclosure: My wife is a bilingual teacher and my children grew up speaking English and Spanish. But you don’t need those factors in your life to have a vested interest in how well the school program commonly known as ESOL – English for Speakers of Other Languages – is faring in this country, state and community.
Latinos are now the largest minority in the US. Florida’s population growth today is driven largely by Latinos. And Latinos make up almost two-thirds of Miami-Dade County’s residents.
Educators, business leaders and advocates gathered Monday in Clearwater for a three-day education summit called by Gov. Rick Scott --- but the first day in some ways served to highlight differences between those involved in public schools as the system enters a critical period.
In an early example of the disagreements that could affect the meeting, Joanne McCall, vice president of the Florida Education Association, highlighted teacher concerns with the state's accountability system, now under siege from several sources.