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Today on Context Florida: Marks of progress, genitals, Mary McLeod Bethune and reforming education reform

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Today on Context Florida:

Marks of progress, such as Gov. Rick Scott recently signing a bill removing John U. Lloyd’s name from the beach park and renaming it in honor of Von D. Mizell and Eula Johnson, gives Jac VerSteeg reason to hope in these days of regressionists like Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, (aka Lucifer in the Flesh).

Conservatives used to be all about lower taxes and smaller government. These days, says Diane Roberts, they’re all about genitals: what you do with said genitals, with whom, and where you bare them to answer the Call of Nature. The city council of Oxford, Alabama, defying both “political correctness” and the English language, declared that decent folk have a right to “quite [sic] solicitude [sic]” without wondering if the person in the next stall has different plumbing. Otherwise, the restroom becomes a place of “increased venerability” [sic] with a lurking menace of “voyeurism, exhibitionism, molestation, and assault and battery.”

Now that the federal government has decided to put Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill, William Mattox believes the state of Florida should find a good way to honor one of our own: Mary McLeod Bethune, the legendary educator who founded a school for African-American girls that grew into what is today Bethune-Cookman University. As some have suggested, it would be a fitting stroke of poetic justice for a statue of Bethune to replace Confederate Gen. Edmund Kirby Smith in the U.S. Capitol’s Statuary Hall. (The Florida Legislature passed a measure earlier this year calling for Smith’s replacement.) And while Mattox certainly doesn’t object to this idea, his hope is that Florida schoolchildren won’t have to travel to Washington, D.C. to see Dr. Bethune get her proper due.

John Meeks, Jr. calls for reforming education reform. In the mad dash to get federal funding for education reform, the accountability buzzword was bandied about as if simply replacing one system with another was going to magically transform public education into something better. Florida, a state that still refuses to accept Medicaid expansion funding, was one of the states that saw no problem with receiving the Race to the Top and the strings that were attached. It was all in the name of “reform” and “accountability.”

Visit Context Florida to dig in.

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.

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