Today on Context Florida: Losers in 2014, crazy politics, felon education, FCAT & vouchers

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Today on Context Florida: Daniel Tilson takes a stab at predicting winners and losers in the 2014 Florida legislative session. When calculating win/loss percentages, Tilson notes, the casinos have nothing on the Republican Party of Florida.

“Crazy politics” are the barrier to good Republican policy, writes Marc Yacht, where overuse of labels — liberals, conservatives, tea partiers, communists, socialists, or libertarians — “draws attention away from needed discourse and rallies individuals based on group affiliation.”

Prisons offering college coursework and vocation training to felons should be a government priority, says Dan McCarthy. Taxpayer-supported education reduces recidivism rates, and public safety demands Florida do better than the current levels, where 30,000 felons are released last year without new skills needed for life outside prison.

Students under the Florida taxpayer-funded de-facto voucher system must use the same standardized tests as students in public schools, writes Julie Delegal. Voucher students have never been required to complete the FCAT, instead attempting to compare public and voucher-student scores using another test, one that was not terribly useful.

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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 HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, 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 phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.