Florida Republicans cut budgets for public schools – but want taxpayers to pay for private, religious schooling

A proposed constitutional amendment to lift the ban on public funding of religious groups should be ripped from the 2012 ballot because it is “misleading and insufficiently specific,” according to a lawsuit filed by Florida’s largest teachers union…

“This is designed to open the state treasury to voucher schools, but this is not what the ballot summary says,” said Andy Ford, president of the Florida Education Association…

By attacking the ballot summary as “misleading,” the teachers union takes aim at a sensitive issue for the Republican lawmakers, who have watched in recent years as the Florida Supreme Court used that very reason to block a series of constitutional changes from the ballot.

In response to the legal challenges, the GOP-controlled Legislature passed a new law this year requiring the attorney general to fix any ballot titles or summaries a court deems problematic and return it to the ballot within 10 days.

The teachers union is also trying to reverse that law in their suit, saying it violates the separation powers provision in the state Constitution…

The ban on public funding of religious institutions, known as the Blaine Amendment, was cited by the 1st District Court of Appeal in an earlier ruling against the program…

Instead of giving religious institutions the right to public funding in the U.S. Constitution, plaintiffs argue the Florida change would mandate it. Union attorneys, led by Ron Meyer, also argue the ballot summary falsely implies the change is required by the U.S. Constitution.

Meyer also said the ballot title of “religious freedom” is deceptive.

Not that deception is new to political practices either side of the aisle. Historically Democrats have pulled the wool over voters eyes in many cities and states – the usual reason being good old-fashioned graft and corruption.

The New Wave of Republican lies is a lot more ideological. They’d love to return the nation to 19th Century standards of citizenship and practices – including forcing religion down the throats of everyone, official kowtowing to the wants of corporate crowned heads, dismantling any additions to civil rights in the past century – all paid for by taxes destined solely for the backs of ordinary working people.

Right-wing + teabaggers capture Florida Republican Party – and maybe lose an election to the Moderate they want to force out.

Florida Governor Charlie Crist, fighting for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate, stirred more speculation he may leave the party and run as an independent when he vetoed a contentious Republican measure on Thursday…

Crist vetoed a bill passed by the Republican-led Legislature to eliminate traditional teacher tenure, saying the measure went too far in taking away teacher protections that constituents overwhelmingly wanted to keep. The bill also would have linked teachers’ pay to improvements in student test scores.

The ultimate George W Jeb Bush cheap-out.

Crist trails in [Republican] opinion polls to Marco Rubio, a former House Speaker from Miami who has become the darling of the Republican Party’s conservative wing.

He further distanced himself from Rubio on Thursday by siding with teachers and some of the state’s largest unions, the Florida Education Association and the AFL-CIO.

A Quinnipiac Poll released hours before the veto showed Crist losing to Rubio by 23 points if the Republican primary were held now. If Crist ran as an independent, the poll found he would win a three-way race with 32 percent of the vote, compared with Rubio’s 30 percent and Democratic front-runner Kendrick Meek’s 24 percent…

Crist told reporters the measure was inflexible and too hastily crafted without proper input from teachers, parents, superintendents and school boards and had damaged the morale of teachers, parents and students.

As usual, the Republican version of “reform” is designed to cut jobs and downgrade education.

Of course, keeping someone sensible in office remains a function of the Florida electorate. One of the blogs I’ve been involved with for quite a spell maintains a special logo just for silly things that happen in Florida.