Public education is meant to be the great equalizer in the US. The idea being that children no matter what zip code they were born in or whether or not their parents were wealthy would be able to get the same quality education. This is not what we are seeing today. Schools have been gutted across the country, teachers’ unions have been attacked, students are left ill-equipped with basic supplies needed to learn. Our school infrastructure is rated at a D+ by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). Only 42% of Florida’s 3,000 schools are structurally sound enough to be designated as hurricane shelters. “In 1997, the SMART Schools Act established a 20-year capital outlay funding program using $2 billion in lottery funds for the construction of permanent classrooms, but this funding has since lapsed, and other funds have been curtailed.” (ASCE) We must reinvest in our schools, teachers, and students.

Here is my campaign’s plan to do so:

  • Ensure adequate funding. (Florida ranks 44th in the nation in per-pupil spending)

  • Invest $1billion into our public education system.

    • $100 million will be spent on school construction and renovation. Florida deserves better than a D+ ASCE rated school system we must strive to raise our grade to an A.

    • We will spend $400 million on giving school teachers a minimum wage of $50,000/year and ensure that all other school faculty and staff are paid a living wage.

    • $250 million will be invested in expanding and improving early childhood education programs.

    • $100 million will be allocated towards expanding vocational and technical training.

    • Leaving $150 million to help ensure every kid in the Florida public school system has the technology, school supplies, and food to promote a healthy learning environment.

  • How do we pay for this?

    • Raise Florida’s corporate tax rate from 5.5% currently to 7.75% raising $1 billion in revenue per year

    • Legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana generating an estimated $190 million in revenue per year

    • End all unnecessary corporate subsidies saving the state budget on average $165 million per year

    • Accept the Federally funded Medicaid Expansion saving the state $162 million per year

    • Eliminate Florida’s voucher system and return $130 million into public the public system per year


  • Let teachers teach. They should have the authority to select the best methods and pacing to meet their students’ needs.


“In the past two decades, there has been a state-mandated explosion in the amount and scope of standardized testing. The over-reliance on the results of a single state test is the foundation for the entire shame-and-blame program: a bogus school grading system, the use of the faulty-VAM in teacher evaluations, and flaky bonus schemes. Even worse is the direct impact this has on schools and students.


Out-of-control testing in Florida cheats our students of valuable instruction time. Libraries are often closed for weeks at a time so they can serve as testing labs. Non-classroom professionals such as guidance counselors and school psychologists are pulled from their duties to proctor testing. School schedules are disrupted for months on end.


Teachers and other school staff professionals need the flexibility to use everyday assessment of their students’ work to guide their pacing and instruction without the monumental loss of time for tests and testing administration. Time and resources spent on testing and test preparation are better used to develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

On top of all that, these standardized tests do very little, if anything, to help improve student performance. Because the test results are not available for months after the test is taken, they cannot be used to guide instruction or provide timely feedback to students.

Instead of high-stakes testing, we should depend on useful everyday assessment of student classwork. This allows teachers to better meet the needs of their students by providing immediate feedback and making a real-time adjustment to instructional tactics.” (FEA)

  • Restore the class size amendment. The state has chipped away and provided loopholes to districts, despite parental support of smaller classes.


“Almost two decades ago, Florida voters had become so fed up with large class sizes in their children’s public schools they voted to amend the constitution to correct the problem. Floridians knew is that smaller class sizes would benefit all students.


Research backs this up, supporting the positive impact that smaller classes have on student achievement and the role it plays in reducing the racial achievement gap seen all too in standardized testing.

Despite the overwhelming public support and research-based evidence that smaller classes, especially in early grades, have long-lasting positive impacts on students, Florida’s legislators have been trying to undermine the intent of the constitutional amendment almost since the minute it passed.

From dramatically decreasing the number of courses identified as “core,” to allowing school-wide averages for “Schools of Choice,” the Florida legislature’s attack on the constitution is harming our students. It is no surprise that more than 30% of parents who use vouchers in Florida say one of the top things they want from their school is “small classes.”

Students in Florida’s public schools have a constitutional right to small classes and the benefits that come with them. Instead of continuing to funnel public money into unaccountable private schools, [we call] upon the legislature and the governor to fully fund and implement the original 2002 voter mandate.” (FEA)

  • Keep teachers in Florida


“Florida has a serious and growing teacher shortage.


Districts had more than 4,000-advertised vacancies for classroom teachers in August 2018, up from 3,000 in 2017 and 2,400 in 2016. As of January 2020 —midway through the school year — more than 2,440 teaching positions remained unfilled — a 10% increase from January 2019.


There are several reasons for the teacher and staff shortage:

Pay, with Florida ranking 46th nationally for teacher salaries and education staff professionals are paid below the national poverty level

Lack of support

Lack of flexibility in instruction and the need to “teach to the test”

Confusing evaluation standards

Overcrowded classrooms


Too many politicians treat public schools and the people who work in them as punching bags. When the profession is attacked daily; when the contribution teachers make to students and communities goes unrecognized; when bureaucrats who’ve never spent a day in a classroom tell teachers how to do their job — then it becomes difficult to attract and retain dedicated and qualified education professionals.


In fact, the financial website WalletHub ranks the “Best and Worst States for Teachers” Florida comes in as one of the worst states for teachers, ranking 47th.


Most concerning, this shortage robs our students of the opportunity to learn and puts their safety at risk. Districts are dealing with teacher shortages in classrooms by hiring untrained teachers with temporary certificates as well as large numbers of substitutes and permanent substitutes. Shortages among bus drivers, counselors, school resource officers, and other education staff professionals threaten the safety and well-being of our students.


Florida’s students have suffered long enough through these misguided attempts in the Legislature to solve the shortage crisis.


They deserve real, long-term solutions including:


Increasing pay for teachers and education staff professionals to at least $50,000.

Incentivizing retention in the profession with multi-year contracts after a probationary period

Reducing the time spent on testing and test-preparation so that teachers have time to teach and students have time to learn

Restoring autonomy to professional educators so they can provide each student with the instruction they need instead of being forced to stick to scripted lessons

Addressing student debt through incentive such as loan forgiveness, grants, scholarships and support for pre-service teacher programs

Providing funding and time for structured mentoring support for new teachers

Providing meaningful professional development for all instructional and non-instructional professionals” (FEA)

  • COVID-19 School System Response


  • Establish a publicly owned statewide highspeed broadband wireless internet system across Florida. The internet is nearly essential to modern life and no one should be priced out of a key tool for employment and education.

  • Students must be provided with adequate schools supplies such as pencils, workbooks, textbooks, laptops, etc… to ensure the best possible success in distance learning

  • Cancel all in-person school until further notice until we exit the COVID-19 pandemic

  • Many children rely on school cafeterias to eat breakfast and lunch every day. We must ensure all Floridian students’ nutritional needs are met during the crisis.

  • Tuition-Free Public Colleges and Universities

  • Expand Bright Futures to ensure every Floridian who wishes to go to a public college or university can do so tuition-free.

  • There is an established Sunshine Scholarship Program that is administered by the Department of Education. The Sunshine Scholarship Program shall be expanded to provide funding for 100 percent of a student's tuition at a Florida college or university. The Sunshine Scholarship Program would pay for up to 72 credit hours for an associate degree program and 120 credit hours for a baccalaureate degree program in all public colleges and universities

Heather Hunter


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© 2020 by Heather Hunter.

P.O. Box 875 

Tallahassee, FL 32302