Al Lawson: Enemy of Public Education
Sides with Betsy DeVos over Florida Students

– At last week’s Tallahassee Democrat Editorial Board meeting, Al Lawson cited education as a top priority. Despite claims that he cares about Florida students, Lawson has a long record of creating an unequal playing field for education. Lawson:

  • Was the only Democratic state senator to vote for then-Governor Jeb Bush’s voucher plan to drain public tax dollars from Florida’s woefully underfunded public schools. Before the vote, he stormed out of a Democratic caucus meeting, saying he had an appointment with a Republican Senator. He was later called out by then-State Senator Frederica Wilson who said, “I don’t see how any African-American can support vouchers… Those who do are very misled, and they are moving along a path that they don’t understand.” [Palm Beach Post, 4/28/06]
  • Proudly accepted thousands of dollars in campaign cash from Donald Trump’s Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. [Orlando Sentinel, 1/31/17]
  • “Warmly welcomed” DeVos to Tallahassee for a meeting to discuss her agenda to privatize public education, a “sharp contrast to criticism DeVos received Tuesday from the Florida Education Association teachers’ union and Democratic gubernatorial candidates as she toured a Tallahassee private school and a charter school.” [News Service of Florida, 9/14/17]

Congressman Al Lawson with Secretary Betsy DeVos


It comes as no surprise that Al Lawson schemes to divert public education dollars into for-profit corporations just like his long-time friend Betsy DeVos. DeVos is actively hurting our country’s students, educators, and their families:

  • “Upending the Obama-era legacy of higher education”: “Since the onset of the Trump administration, the Education Department under the leadership of Secretary Betsy DeVos has taken steps to withdraw from or reverse several Obama-era regulations across K-12 and higher education.” [Education Dive, 8/7/18]
  • Making life harder for students taken advantage of by predatory for-profit schools: “Two planned Education Department changes would make it more difficult for defrauded students to have their loans forgiven and, according to the New York Times and Wall Street Journal, reduce protections for current students. And last week, the department signaled that still other Obama-era higher-education measures could be at risk, leaving consumer advocates worried that students could become even more susceptible to fraud and predation.” [Mother Jones, 8/6/18]
  • Decimating public education funding to give massive tax cuts to the wealthy: “Making matters worse, the Republican-led Congress is writing austerity policies because of the tax cuts enacted by the Trump administration. Trump’s tax cuts, the report states, will cost $1.9 trillion. This massive reduction will bring greater divestment in public education. The report states that ‘blaming our current fiscal situation on the recession alone ignores the fact that states, mostly those controlled by Republican governors and state legislators, made things worse by pushing tax cuts for the wealthy. These tax cuts for the very rich have drained state budgets of the resources needed to support our nation’s schools.’” [Tampa Bay Times, 8/2/18]
  • Privatizing and profiteering the education sector, hurting students and schools: “Pushed to move millions of dollars from Title I—a program that gives additional funds to the country’s poorest school districts—to a school choice program, including a federal system of private school vouchers. This would allow millions of public dollars to flow to a range of entities that do not answer to taxpayers, such as private schools and for-profit charter schools.” [Center for American Progress, 4/18/18]
  • Believes the American public-school system is a ‘dead end’: “[Education is] a closed system, a closed industry, a closed market. It’s a monopoly, a dead end.’ … This is in contrast to the notion that America’s public education system is a civic institution — the country’s most important, in fact — that can’t be run like a business without ensuring that some children will be winners and others will be losers, just like in business. Supporters of public education acknowledge the system has failed many students but largely believe the solution is to improve the public schools to address what students really need to succeed.” [Washington Post, 12/21/16]

The people of North Florida deserve better, which is why the Florida Education Association and Duval Teachers United have proudly endorsed Alvin Brown’s campaign for Congress.


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