Kendrick Meek on Education

Democratic Representative (FL-17)


Increase student aid; cut student loan interest in half

All our children deserve a high-quality education and parents should be able to afford college for their kids. As a product of the public school system, I support increasing student aid and cutting interest in half for student loans.
Source: Democracy for America 2010 endorsements , Aug 11, 2010

Constitutional amendment to limit class size to 25

In 2002, Jeb worked mightily to defeat a ballot initiative sponsored by confirmed foe Kendrick Meek that sought to put in the state constitution the requirement that Florida's public schools reduce their class size by 2 children each year until they reached the goal of no more than 18, 22, and 25, depending on the grade level. A reasonable enough idea, it would seem, to a man who had paid many tens of thousands of dollars to ensure that his own children attended private schools that advertised small classes. But no, to Jeb the plan was mere political treachery, designed to saddle his 2nd term with an expensive mandate that would make further large tax cuts impossible. By election day, he drove the favorable ratings of the amendment down from the mid-60s to a mere 52.4% passing margin, setting up a repeal of the amendment as his top legislative priority for his 2nd term.
Source: America's Next Bush, by S.V. Date, p. 14 , Feb 15, 2007

Driven to address 35 kids in his own child's 3rd grade class

He could be remembered as the man who single-handedly dragged state government, kicking and screaming, to let Florida public schools vault past the likes of Mississippi and Alabama into the middle of the national pack.

Meek accomplished the feat that could make him Florida's foremost champion of education when he pushed for and won a citizen's initiative that enshrined in the Florida constitution a requirement to limit class sizes in public schools. Meek said he was driven to act by the 35 children in his own 3rd grader's class--not by the obvious political implications. Whatever the motive, by 2003 Florida's constitution dictated that the legislature and governor would have to reduce class sizes by 2 children per year until, by autumn of 2010, kindergarten through 3rd grade could have no more than 18 children, 4th through 8th grades no more than 22, and 9th through 12th no more than 25.

Source: America's Next Bush, by S.V. Date, p.179 , Feb 15, 2007

Voted YES on $40B for green public schools.

Congressional Summary:Make grants to states for the modernization, renovation, or repair of public schools, including early learning facilities and charter schools, to make them safe, healthy, high-performing, and technologically up-to-date.

Proponent's argument to vote Yes: Rep. BETSY MARKEY (D, CO-4): This legislation will improve the learning environment for our children, reduce energy costs and create new jobs across the country. Green schools not only save school districts money but also teach the importance of sustainable living to children at a young age.

Opponent's argument to vote No: Rep. GLENN THOMPSON (R, PA-5): We all know our Nation is drowning in a sea of red ink. The bill we're debating today would add an estimated $40 billion in new spending. And despite the majority's hollow promises of fiscal responsibility, there's nothing in the legislation to offset this hefty price tag with spending reductions elsewhere. This is just more of the same borrow and spend, spend and borrow policy that we've seen under this majority and this administration.

Reference: 21st Century Green Schools Act; Bill H.R.2187 ; vote number 2009-H259 on May 14, 2009

Voted YES on additional $10.2B for federal education & HHS projects.

Veto override on the bill, the American Competitiveness Scholarship Act, the omnibus appropriations bill for the Departments of Departments of Education, Health & Human Services, and Labor. Original bill passed & was then vetoed by the President.

Proponents support voting YES because:

Rep. OBEY: This bill, more than any other, determines how willing we are to make the investment necessary to assure the future strength of this country and its working families. The President has chosen to cut the investments in this bill by more than $7.5 billion in real terms. This bill rejects most of those cuts.

Opponents recommend voting NO because:

Rep. LEWIS: This bill reflects a fundamental difference in opinion on the level of funding necessary to support the Federal Government's role in education, health and workforce programs. The bill is $10.2 billion over the President's budget request. While many of these programs are popular on both sides of the aisle, this bill contains what can rightly be considered lower priority & duplicative programs. For example, this legislation continues three different programs that deal with violence prevention. An omnibus bill is absolutely the wrong and fiscally reckless approach to completing this year's work. It would negate any semblance of fiscal discipline demonstrated by this body in recent years.

Veto message from President Bush:

This bill spends too much. It exceeds [by $10.2 billion] the reasonable and responsible levels for discretionary spending that I proposed to balance the budget by 2012. This bill continues to fund 56 programs that I proposed to terminate because they are duplicative, narrowly focused, or not producing results. This bill does not sufficiently fund programs that are delivering positive outcomes. This bill has too many earmarks--more than 2,200 earmarks totaling nearly $1 billion. I urge the Congress to send me a fiscally responsible bill that sets priorities.

Reference: American Competitiveness Scholarship Act; Bill Veto override on H.R. 3043 ; vote number 2007-1122 on Nov 15, 2007

Voted YES on $84 million in grants for Black and Hispanic colleges.

This vote is on a substitute bill (which means an amendment which replaces the entire text of the original bill). Voting YES means support for the key differences from the original bill: lowering student loan interest rates; $59 million for a new Predominantly Black Serving Institution program; $25 million for a new graduate Hispanic Serving Institution program; provide for year- round Pell grants; and repeal the Single Lender rule. The substitute's proponents say:
  • The original bill has some critical shortcomings. First and foremost, this substitute will cut the new Pell Grant fixed interest rate in half from 6.8% to 3.4%, to reduce college costs to those students most in need.
  • It would also establish a new predominantly black-serving institutions programs to boost college participation rates for low-income black students, and a new graduate Hispanic-serving institution program.
  • As we saw from 1995 to 2000, the questions employers were asking was not your race, not your ethnicity, not your religion, they wanted to know if you had the skills and talents to do the job. Most often today, those skills and that talent requires a higher education. A college education is going to have to become as common as a high school education.
    Reference: Reverse the Raid on Student Aid Act; Bill HR 609 Amendment 772 ; vote number 2006-080 on Mar 30, 2006

    Rated 100% by the NEA, indicating pro-public education votes.

    Meek scores 100% by the NEA on public education issues

    The National Education Association has a long, proud history as the nation's leading organization committed to advancing the cause of public education. Founded in 1857 "to elevate the character and advance the interests of the profession of teaching and to promote the cause of popular education in the United States," the NEA has remained constant in its commitment to its original mission as evidenced by the current mission statement:

    To fulfill the promise of a democratic society, the National Education Association shall promote the cause of quality public education and advance the profession of education; expand the rights and further the interest of educational employees; and advocate human, civil, and economic rights for all.
    In pursuing its mission, the NEA has determined that it will focus the energy and resources of its 2.7 million members toward the "promotion of public confidence in public education." The ratings are based on the votes the organization considered most important; the numbers reflect the percentage of time the representative voted the organization's preferred position.
    Source: NEA website 03n-NEA on Dec 31, 2003

    Opposes less federal or more local control of education.

    Meek opposes the F2A survey question on education

    Faith2Action.org is "the nation's largest network of pro-family groups." They provide election resources for each state, including Voter Guides and Congressional Scorecards excerpted here. The Faith2Action survey summarizes candidate stances on the following topic: 'Less federal and more state / local control of education'

    Source: Faith2Action Survey 10-FF-q7 on Sep 19, 2010

    2016-17 Governor, House and Senate candidates on Education: Kendrick Meek on other issues:
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    Alexander Snitker
    Andrew Gillum
    Charlie Crist
    Gwen Graham
    Rick Scott
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    Bill Nelson

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