Entries by Dan Gelber

My Dad, Mandela and a lesson in leadership

My Dad, Seymour Gelber, was elected Mayor of Miami Beach in 1991, in the midst of a national tourism boycott of Miami-Dade County. It was sparked by the refusal of municipalities across Miami-Dade to honor Mandela during his visit here after his release from 27 years in South African prisons. During Mandela’s imprisonment Yasser Arafat […]

Testing is still not teaching

This week Education Week announced its Quality Counts State Report Card. Florida received a “B-“ and was ranked 6th nationally so immediately the usual suspects engaged in the typical self adulation. I don’t relish being the guy that is constantly throwing cold water on the party, but a closer read of the report shows all […]

A Holiday Story

Twenty-four years ago Big Brothers&Sisters matched me up with a 6-year-old little gap-toothed boy living in a poor Miami neighborhood I knew only as a place to avoid driving through. Travis, who had been abandoned, had bounced around relatives, eventually settling in with a great aunt. She became his primary caretaker and called on Big […]

FCAT debacle proves change in order

Today’s announcement that over 70% of Florida students failed the newly calibrated writing FCAT means either our school system has horrible problems teaching, or our Department of Education is filled with idiots. Either way, change is in order. Florida’s overemphasis on testing is insane. We have become a school system whose entire purpose seems to […]

Thinking of Mom

What follows is my blog post from a few years ago on Mother’s Day. I miss Mom and especially miss that my kids had only a few years of her great grace and wisdom. THINKING OF MOM At a luncheon last month, a woman asked me a question I have heard countless times before. “Are […]

Lugar’s Defeat is America’s

I first met Indiana Senator Dick Lugar 20 years ago. I was running the U.S. Senate’s investigation’s committee for my boss, then Senator Sam Nunn of Georgia. Nunn and Lugar were singularly focused on preparing our nation for the new type of security threat that was emerging from the ashes of the former Soviet Union. […]


When I was the Democratic Leader in the Florida House, Tim Tebow made a ceremonial visit to the floor of the Legislature after leading the Gators to a national championship. My colleagues fawned on him, grabbing photographs and autographs. The Speaker at the time, Marco Rubio, was the most excited. Marco, a football player himself […]

Might is not right: A petty war on the Court

The Florida Legislature has declared a petty and unseemly war on the state’s Supreme Court. In retaliation for rulings they disagreed with, the Legislature is proposing massive overhauls of the court, intended to make the judicial branch both weaker and less independent. One proposal would require Justices receive a 60% vote in a general election […]

Florida’s Mad Dash to Mediocrity

I’ll be pretty happy when FCAT week is over. My oldest is in an advanced math class, and for some time now the class stopped teaching its normal curriculum in order to reteach the FCAT math they learned a year or two ago. So they are preparing for the FCAT, even if it means neglecting […]

A shot of reality about high school performance

I just finished reading a second Department of Education press release in so many weeks touting how terrific Florida’s High Schools are performing. The press statements rely on graduation rate statistics (that only Florida is using), and a new “self-test” that is being given to high schools under recently enacted legislative guidelines. While I hate […]