Senator Janet Cruz (D-Tampa) has filed SJR 422 to bring the choice for the top education chief in Florida back to the people to decide. If enacted, this resolution will become a constitutional ballot initiative, allowing Floridians to vote to include the Commissioner of Education as a statewide elected officer and member of the cabinet commencing in 2022.
“Floridians deserve the right to vote for who is leading our education system” said Senator Janet Cruz. “Voters currently have no direct influence on state education policy and this resolution seeks to put an end to that.”
Under the current system, Florida’s education commissioner is chosen by the state Board of Education, the members of which are chosen by the governor. Such an opaque system has led to questions about impartiality and independence of the individual chosen to oversee Florida’s sprawling K-12 system, and lack of accountability directly to the people.
“Going forward, we should remove politics and personal agendas from the selection process” said Senator Cruz. “The commissioner of education needs to be a champion of Florida’s traditional public education system. This resolution restores transparency to the process, and, most importantly, ensures that the voters are heard.”
The legislation has been filed for the upcoming 2019 legislative session. If successful, the measure will appear on the 2020 ballot, and, if approved by 60 percent of the voters, will go into effect for the November 2022 election.