Group gives local lawmakers "F" on education

Tampa, Florida -- A Florida political group says several local lawmakers are failing when it comes to supporting education issues in our state.

But the organization issuing that report card may be grading on a political curve.

The Foundation for Florida's Future website has posted its annual evaluation, gauging Florida lawmakers on their efforts to improve the quality of education in the sunshine State.

120 representatives and 40 state senators were all graded on a scale from A to F.

10 News, digging deeper into those grades, looked at lawmakers from the Bay Area, and found that of 28 State Representatives 20 got an A, one got a B, and seven received an F.

When it came to our eight State Senators, seven received and A, and one got a failing grade.

But then, as we broke down the numbers, we noticed a trend.

The only local lawmakers who received failing grades in our area were all Democrats.

And of the 47 F's issued state-wide, only one was given to a Republican.

"And they say it's not partisan, but it's definitely biased," said State Rep. Mark Danish, a democrat from New Tampa.

Danish is one of the democratic lawmakers who received a failing grade.

He says The Foundation for Florida's Future publishes the grades to the media and voters using a more bi-partisan sounding name, but that the organization, chaired by former Gov. Jeb Bush, is dominated by conservatives.

"That group has been known to have an agenda - privatize public schools," said Danish.

We contacted the foundation about the basis of its grading criteria, and why - even though their press release nor website make any mention of political affiliation- their grades are clearly politically skewed.

Patricia Levesque, the Foundation's Executive Director, says she hopes the public will use the report card as a reason to look more into their organization and what they stand for when it comes to improving education in Florida.

"It's not completely across party lines, but I would say this. There is a general philosophical difference in positions sometimes," said Levesque.

The foundation for Florida's future says there nothing deceptive going on.

But those on the lower end of the "grade" scale say voters deserve to know the political context of the organization's report card before drawing any conclusions.

To see the full report card published by the Foundation for Florida's Future, and how your own local lawmakers were graded, click here.


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