Stop the Defunding and Privatization of Florida's Traditional Public Schools

“Students are the people we work for every day.  They are the future and deserve our full support.”

Mission Statement:
Protect Our Public Schools (POPS) Manasota believes that free, quality public education is a right for all children and is necessary for the optimal functioning of a democratic society. POPS opposes the privatization of public education.

1. Halt the privatization of traditional public education in Sarasota County, Manatee County, and throughout Florida.
2. Provide an equitable, high quality public education for all children in Florida.
3. Promote legislation that supports quality public education while opposing legislation that favors school privatization.
4. Engage in advocacy in support of quality public education.


  1. Halt the movement toward the privatization of education in Sarasota County, Manatee County, and throughout Florida.
    • Prevent public schools from being defunded due to transfer of public funds to charter schools and school voucher programs.
    • Expose corporate and legislative malfeasance in conjunction with charter schools and voucher-funded private schools.
    • End the corporate standardized testing creating inappropriate criteria to compensate teachers and designate schools as “failing.”
    • Restrict online classroom and unproven technology-based initiatives promoted by the educational services industry.
  2. Provide an equitable, high quality public education for all children in Florida.
    • Increase per-student funding allocation to at least the national average.
    • Substantially increase pay of teachers, supporting professionals, and staff to attract and retain quality personnel.
    • Implement a highly individualized, culturally relevant, child-centered, innovative and teacher-designed curriculum that teaches critical thinking skills, is rich in the arts; strong in science and math; and emphasizes the lessons of history.
    • Support for dual language programs for students learning English as a second language.
    • End high-stakes, standardized testing, allowing parents (in the meantime) to opt their children out of standardized testing without penalty.
    • Establish a safe and welcoming environment for all students and their families.
    • Stop the school-to-prison pipeline by addressing racism and providing positive supports to all students.
    • Enhance low-performing schools with additional revenue and transform every Title 1 school into full-service Community Partnership Schools.
    • Implement Restorative Practice Methods to improve and manage student behavior.
    • Establish early intervention (baby and toddler) services, quality infant day care programs, all-day universal public preschool programs so that graduates of such programs are ready for kindergarten.
    • Guarantee the right of union participation for all teachers and staff tenure in every school.
  3. Oppose educational legislation that favors school privatization and support legislation that supports quality public education.
    • Oppose legislation that increases funding for any form of school privatization.
    • Level the playing field in terms of accountability and regulation between traditional public schools and charter schools/state-funded voucher schools.
    • Support legislation that provides increased revenue to traditional public schools.
  4. Engage in advocacy in support of quality public education.
    • Educate the public on the importance of quality public education for all children. Publish voting record and/or stances on issues as it pertains to education of candidates for school board, and other county, state and federal races.
    • Support school referendum campaigns and other means to increase financial support of traditional public schools.

Members and Supporters:
Our members and supporters are interested primarily in the education of children in the Manatee and Sarasota School Districts.  Many are teachers and former teachers.  Some are parents and grandparents of current school students. Many are citizens who understand that the future of our community, and indeed our country, depends on on the integrity and veracity of public education.  Most are troubled by the misallocation of state and national educational funds from tax revenues to organizations focused on owner’s profits rather than sound educational outcomes for children.  If this is you, you are one of us.

Know What is Going on and Why it Matters:
It turns out that when Americans know that market-based “education reforms” drain funds from public schools, most oppose the policies.  Continuing privatization and defunding of Florida’s district schools depend on Floridians not knowing what is going on. POPS believe it is important that citizens do know what is happening, as it is happening, what it means, and why it matters.

To keep up with education in the Manatee and Sarasota School Districts, sign up to receive an email of our monthly POPS “In-the-Know” Newsletter. This publication provides visibility, updates, and political assessment on regional public school and education happenings.

Our Website’s Content

  • A look back on the history of “education reform” since 1988 to help readers understand how things moved from thoughtful efforts to improve traditional public education to the present-day defunding/privatizing of “public” schools.
  • A deep dive into Florida’s “death by a thousand cuts” public education reform guided by a cabal of lobbyists, high-dollar political donors, and conflicted legislators relying on dogma rather than facts.
  • Profiles of Manatee and Sarasota School Districts with links to often-difficult-to-find school performance data, current information, and Board of Education meetings. Included are lists of district, charter, and private schools together with performance statistics and demographics.
  • Web links to keep abreast of Board of Education workshops and meetings, together with minutes of past meetings and video records.
  • A description of the POPS activist agenda and factors driving the agenda.
  • The POPS reference library including links to important online web resources, investigative media reports, the POPS publication archives, POPS White Papers, and reading recommendations by the members of our Board of Directors.
  • Insight into the POPS organization with opportunities to become involved in protecting our public schools.

Subscribe to our Monthly Newsletter

* indicates required