The Free State of DeSantis and the Fate of Public Education


If there were any doubt about DeSantis the First’s endgame with regard to public education, it has become painfully clear as we enter into the state’s legislative session. It is clear that the goal is to do away with meaningful education as a public good and create a two-tier system where the wealthy get quality schooling while the dregs of society… you know,  people who work for a living… get state indoctrination.

This last weak, DeSantis I announce his latest effort to do away with teachers’ unions under the guise of paycheck protection. He and his lapdogs in the legislature plan to pass a law doing away with automatic deductions for union dues. Instead of school districts deducting dues automatically from a teacher’s pay for union dues, the teacher will be expected to send monthly checks to the union to maintain their membership. It is predicted that this inconveniences can cost unions as much as a third of their membership.

DeSantis I intends to add even more barriers. For instance, aspiring union members will have to sign a written statement with the principal acknowledging that Florida is a “right to work” state and union membership isn’t required for employment.

A couple years ago, the neo-fascists passed legislation requiring teachers’ unions to maintain 50% density. If membership falls below this threshold, the state can decertify the union’s charter.

Herr DeSantis is not satisfied with this. After the law was passed, unions amped up their membership drives to keep their numbers up. So the Grand Governor is proposing upping that arbitrary requirement to 60%.

If that doesn’t work, he’ll up the requirement to 75%…80%.

He will get rid of teachers’ unions. When he does, districts will write their own contracts and teachers will take it or leave it.

If the current teacher shortage is any indication, they’ll leave it.

Not to worry. The neo-fascists have a plan. A bill is being proposed to provide universal vouchers, without regard to income. How this will work is any parent will be able to get a voucher for the public school allocation for their child, currently about $8,100 per year, to put toward tuition for a private school.

Of course, the average tuition for a private school in Florida is almost $10,000 per year. Once these vouchers come on line, however, the demand for private schools will increase and, because we can’t regulate the free market, tuition will rise accordingly. Poor and working-class students will not be able to afford the tuition for even a mediocre private school. Their only options will be a subpar private school–and there are plenty of those–or grossly underfunded and understaffed public schools.

Where will the teachers come from? Professionally trained teachers are dropping like flies. With the unions gone, there will be no collective bargaining. That means less pay, fewer benefits, and more arduous work conditions. We can’t keep teachers as it is.

Not to worry. Only the most elite private schools care about professional certification. Standard private schools do not require professional credentials, but certainly the most talented teachers, regardless of credentials, will find their way to the high-end private schools. That leaves the low-end private and public schools who will be forced to hire just about anyone they can to put a warm body in an overcrowded classroom.

I mean, what the hell. After all, anyone can teach.

And credentials will hardly matter anyway because by that point all the teacher will have to do is read the script pre-approved by the DeSantisites in Tallahassee and use the pre-approved DeSantisian curriculum specially designed to make sure that real American students never get their fragile feelings hurt, then pass the pre-approved exams that DeSantis will put into effect in order to “reduce testing.”

I’ve been talking about this endgame for about twenty years. The goal is to do away with public education entirely. It always has been. I was scoffed as being overly dramatic.

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