Republican Doug Broxson ratchets up the narrative heat on DoE/Jefferson and fellow senator Manny Diaz's failures and lies
Diaz blames distance and Jefferson County itself for Somerset's failure and decision to cut and run. Broxson calls BS, commits $5M in public money to protect the people Diaz and DoE have "abandoned."
Sen. Manny Diaz, the politician most responsible for the charter school failure and moral cowardice in Jefferson County, blames that failure and cowardice on two factors.
The people and community of Jefferson County — themselves — did not sufficiently embrace Somerset Charter, which is owned by Diaz’s employer.
Jefferson was too far away from Somerset’s south Florida headquarters to adequately manage. This is despite the fact that Somerset manages schools in Nevada, Arizona, Texas, and the Spanish island of Las Palmas, which is a 13-hour flight from Miami.
Shorter Doug Broxson: No Manny, this is on you and Corcoran; and the taxpayer must clean up your failure
Republican Sen. Doug Broxson of Gulf Breeze, who represents the western-most Panhandle, is having none of Manny’s bullshit.
He said this on the Senate Floor on Wednesday, according to reporting by Lawrence Mower of the shared Tampa Bay Times/Miami Herald bureau.
This is something that I think all of you have read about, members. Jefferson County schools are in a little bit of freefall. As you know, the charter school that was established by the Department of Education has decided to vacate that county, leaving a great vacuum.
We are not going to leave them abandoned, and we are setting aside $5M to ensure their success. And as we broadcast today, this message will go the the superintendent and the good people of Jefferson County to know that at least the Senate is going to be there for them as they get through this transition.
I assume Broxson said this in his capacity as chair of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Education; but it’s a little unclear from the reporting. If so, this might have been a wee bit awkward, considering who his vice chair is. See below:
And, as a factual matter, $5M for one year will “ensure” nothing — nothing at all. The Somerset grifters pocketed at least $20M over five years to “ensure” their failure and grease their exit/abandonment plan.
“Not going to leave them abandoned:” a big advance for the DoE/Jefferson scandal narrative
… Public narrative comes from the acceptance of fact as the premise for a true story.
And with that in mind, all I can say is: Wow. This advances the DoE/Jefferson narrative powerfully, more than I expected, honestly. Maybe Politico Florida will stop pretending it doesn’t exist. And maybe Peter Schorsch’s “high value readers” will begin to find an interest in the story Schorsch’s website broke, at least in part.
One small example: note the use of the word “abandoned,” a word draped in moral meaning. I have relentlessly used the word “abandoned” to describe the Somerset part of the DoE/Jefferson scandal. Traditional “journalists” cannot do this because of their conventions. They have to get quotes from public officials. Now they have it. Thanks, Doug.
Broxson not only uses “abandoned,” he embeds it as a premise for the taxpayers to address. “We are not going to leave them abandoned…” The fact of the abandonment itself is now a quotable moral, political, and education cause of action moving ahead. Thanks, Doug.
One can wonder, when one is a small fry like me, if all that work and effort to establish a true moral narrative around a vital public policy scandal ever pays off. Well, I think it’s paying off. And “this is something that I think all of you have read about, members,” is a welcome burst of mental adrenaline.
Other DoE/Jefferson narratives clearly follow “not going to leave them abandoned”
Now, with part of the political dam breached, which lawmaker, which committee chair, is going to say this on the floor?
Gov. DeSantis’s Inspector General Melinda Miguel has promised an “All of the above” into the DoE/Jefferson bid-rigging. This investigation means interviewing, among others: Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran and DoE Chancellor Jacob Oliva; Ralph Arza, the powerful convicted criminal witness tamperer and state charter schools spokesman; Trey Traviesa, the highly connected government and education consultant/former lawmaker; and anyone who took part in a shady Nov. 1 meeting about Jefferson County at the Florida Department of Education.
Interview topics should include bid-rigging, official corruption, misuse of state DoE personnel resources, misuse of federal coronavirus money, whether Somerset Charter delivered all resources it was paid to Jefferson County, and the abject failure of Florida’s “Schools of Hope” program in Jefferson County and beyond.
Is Melinda Miguel — or DeSantis — lying to everyone?
Which state lawmaker will say this?
Your state-school system — and the state agency that operates it under the authority and workplace culture of Governor Ron DeSantis and Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran — has become a deeply cynical state-run criminal enterprise that victimizes children, communities, taxpayers, and its own honest employees just trying to survive.
Broxson’s moral narrative leads logically and urgently to both — and beyond.
Failed Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran makes failed CIO Jamie Grant look like McGuyver
Indeed, Lawrence Mower has another great story today that is both unrelated and deeply related to the DoE/Jefferson scandal and the DeSantis/Corcoran regime.
It’s a story about the disintegration of DeSantis’s incompetent new “Florida Digital Service,” which is falling apart under the “leadership” of incompetent political inheritance baby Jamie Grant. Key excerpt:
TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Ron DeSantis’ new technology office is supposed to resolve the state’s longtime tech woes and lead the state’s defense against cybersecurity threats.
A year into its inception, the office is struggling.
In the last several months, the new Florida Digital Service has seen a wave of high-level departures. Top officials have left without giving notice. It’s looking for its third chief information security officer, who leads cybersecurity defense for the state’s $100 billion government, in less than a year. Half of the state’s 10-member cybersecurity response team positions are vacant.
To lead the new office, DeSantis last year chose former Republican state Rep. Jamie Grant, a lawyer from Tampa, as Florida’s new chief information officer with a $149,000 salary. Despite having little experience working in technology, Grant’s connections to the Legislature were seen as a potential asset in getting money and resources assigned to the office.
Funny/not funny true story: Jamie Grant once wanted to get into the charter school grifter business in Polk County. He had a role with a charter company called “The Profitable Group.”
Really. We voted his grift down at the School Board level; but the state overruled us. And yet, that grifty charter never happened, most likely because Grant seems averse to work.
And yet, if forced to choose, I would rather incompetent Jamie Grant lead the Florida Department of Education than Richard Corcoran. Grant’s just an imcompetent inheritance baby grifter; Corcoran is an incompetent grifter with “ideology” and a psychological need to dominate. And I assume/hope Mower and Ana Ceballos are moving toward a similar article about the exponentially larger collapse of the Florida Department of Education under Corcoran.
Trust me. There are many people talking to me about it.
When do Florida’s big private interests start to worry about their medium to longer-term interests and pull the plug on DeSantis?
DoE/Jefferson is a manifestation of a comprehensive Florida problem repeating itself in everything from mass manatee death to Piney Point to the condo collapse to the collapse of the prison system to the incompetence of state cyber protection: starting with the Rick Scott era, Florida’s big private interests have decided they do not want or need a functioning state government.
The entitled, hard-partying clerks these private interests send to Boys and Girls State on their behalf are happy to oblige them. The big question here is when/if the big private interests realize they actually need some semblance of a functioning state government and adequately staffed state education system?
When do Disney, Publix, FPL, AIF, etc., realize that their future is actually bound up in Florida’s future as a public entity? If and when they do, they will pull the plug on DeSantis and his complete inability to govern.