Tate and Padron Fight For Education Funding

 I can’t think of two people who have done more for education in Florida than Stanley Tate and Eduardo Padron.

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Tate is founder of the Florida Prepaid College Plan, the nation’s largest and most successful prepaid tuition plan. Padron is president of Miami Dade College, the largest institution of higher education in the nation with some 170,000 students.

Padron and Tate are icons in the field of higher education. Thanks to them, people like me have a college education and have been able to send children off to college to get theirs.

I am a 1976 graduate of Miami Dade College. My daughter Erica graduated from Florida State University with prepaid tuition. Bianca graduated from the University of Central Florida. Younger daughters, Julia and Gaby, have plans waiting for them when they are ready.

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To say I owe a lot to these men and the institutions they represent is putting it mildly.

Padron joined me for News & Views to discuss the new “American Dream” scholarships, which will provide full two-year scholarships to Miami Dade College to all Miami-Dade high school graduates with at least a 3.0 grade point average. The scholarships will cover 60 credits, which would normally cost the student $6,500.

Tate, feisty as ever in his early 80’s, is also a guest on the show. He continues battling to protect the prepaid college plan, which was officially named the Stanley G. Tate Florida Prepaid College Plan in 2006. Just last week, some Republican lawmakers in Tallahassee were talking about putting an end to the program as a way of cutting higher education costs.

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Padron and Tate are fighting the good fight to keep education a priority in Florida. Given the current political tone in Tallahassee and Washington, we need their voices now more than ever.

Eliott Rodriguez