Florida is the fourth largest state in population, and will surpass New York in the next decade.
But Florida is operating educationally as a “third world nation”, with constant cuts in education at all levels.
After cutting $1.3 billion in educational funding in the present fiscal year, suddenly Governor Rick Scott, saddled by the lowest public opinion poll support of any Governor in America, came out this year for restoring about $1 billion of the funding lost this past year for education below the college and university level.
But higher education, the passport to the middle class for millions of young people in the state, is being asked to take even further cuts which will cripple the state university and state college system.
State spending is at 2003 levels and there has been a 24 percent cut in funding of higher education since 2008.
Some schools are being asked to take a cut that is draconian, including the University of South Florida in Tampa and Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, and community colleges, now considered state colleges because they offer some bachelors degree programs, are also being harmed, and yet Governor Scott and his party want no or small tuition increases which will decimate the curriculum, and will cause massive layoff of personnel and cuts in services.
Every state is facing crisis in higher education, but Florida is near the bottom of all measurements of academic performance and achievement, and can ill afford the shabby treatment it is being forced to take.
It is shortsighted and fails to consider the future of Florida economically, as without the ability of young people to acquire an education, the long range economic future of Florida is doomed, and this comes as Florida becomes, more than ever, a state with large percentages of minorities, who have no way to advance socially and economically without state commitment to education.
Anyone with any common sense who has children will come to the conclusion to escape the “Sunshine” state if the opportunities for their children continue to be limited, and Florida will languish as one of the most backward states, an image one would think the state would wish to overcome, but not with the conservative, short sighted, and uncaring domination of the Republicans and Governor Rick Scott over the future of the state.