LWV Presentation to the Florida Senate Education Committee Workshop on Charter Schools

photoSue close upThe Senate Education Committee held a workshop on March 11th on proposed bills for charter schools. The list of bills was organized by topic. Sue Legg, Chair of the League’s Education Committee, made a presentation to the committee. She focused on three of the Committee’s topics.

Here is an edited version of her remarks.

Continue reading

Florida Senate Education Committee Workshop on Charters

bill montfordjohn leggIf you want to take the pulse of charter school legislative priorities, watch this video.  It is yesterday’s Florida Senate Education Committee workshop on charters.  They have a long list of proposed bills to consider, and they are looking for ways to combine bills in order to move forward.

The two most comprehensive bills were from Senator Montford and Senator Legg.    Continue reading

Looking Beyond the Stereotypes: Many Black Males Graduate

graduate-150373_1280Education Justice forwarded a report on black male high school graduation rates in states across the country.  They may surprise you.  The Schott Foundation for Public Education just released a report entitled: Black Lives Matter.  It seems harsh to have to be reminded that lives matter, black or any other lives.  When you see the data and read the report, you will understand the concern.

Large variations in high school graduation rates for black and Hispanic males are found across states.  They differ more than you might think.

Continue reading

Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis

download-617135_1280We all are struggling with ways to explain what is happening with our schools.  Why would our country, of all countries, seem to encourage privatization of our schools?

There is an undercurrent in our political and social structure that seems counter to the American Dream.  Do we know think of ‘our kids’ as ‘my kids’ and ‘those other kids over there’?  If so, how does this view affect the choices we make?  What prospects do children have?

There is a new book out that can inform our understanding.

Continue reading

Senate Appropriations Hearing: Did They Listen?

sound-159915_640You may not have watched the Senate Appropriations Committee hearing this week.  It was about charter school management reform.  Or was it? The speakers were from the charter sector and from school districts.

It was not until the last minute of a two hour session that you found out what really was at stake.  A major battle is forming.

Continue reading

Class Size: Skirting the Constitution

sleight of handby Lucia Baez

In 2002, Florida voters passed a constitutional amendment to limit class size.  They did not overturn it in 2010.  How can we have classes with 45 students when the limit is 25?  Is there some sleight of hand going on?  Well yes.  The Miami Herald reported that electives were exempt, and some classes like AP became electives.  Classes that had been limited to twenty five students increased. With the severe funding cuts over several years, districts have had to somehow manage to do more with less.   They looked at the flexibility given to charters and wanted some for themselves.

Charter schools could average class size across the school.  So, some classes could be large and others small.  With the help of the legislature in 2013, districts could do the same if they called their schools  ‘schools of choice’.   Now a bill has been filed to legitimize the practice.  SB 818 was recently filed by Senator Garcia.  It is curious that it is possible to circumvent the constitution when it is convenient.

A teacher and League member from Miami has written a letter.  See what she has to say.  Her tone is gentle; her message is strong.

Continue reading

‘STANDARDIZED’ TO BE SHOWN IN GAINESVILLE

Standarized posterWaiting for Superman  is a documentary that casts public education as full of ‘drop out’ factories and ‘academic sinkholes’.

Rise Above the Mark explores the negative impact of school reform on public education.

Standardized is another documentary.  This one takes on the testing mania that supports school reform.  It will be shown in Gainesville, Florida.  The poster was just sent to me.  The failure of the Florida Standards Assessment online test administration yesterday underscores the message in the film.

If you see all three films, you will cover the arguments on both sides.

It would be good to have a fourth film that documents all the good things that happen in our schools.

It is Time to Act on Charter Regulation Reform

child speakingThe League is not a voice in the wilderness.  We help children’s voices be heard.

Today’s Sun Sentinel ran an editorial calling for many of the same changes in regulations that the League identified.  There are three bills that deserve and need our support.  We posted details in this blog yesterday.  See: Charter School Bills Going in Different Directions.

Read the Sun Sentinel editorial published today.  Resolve to write to your legislative delegation now.

Continue reading

Charter School Bills: Going in Different Directions

trojan-horse-277525_1280It is the best of times; it is the worst of times?  SB 1036 and SB SB1038 were filed by Senator Montford of the Senate Education Committee.  The bills could make a real improvement in the management and oversight of charters.  This has been a major priority of the Florida League of Women Voters.

Then there is Senator Legg’s bill.  It has a Trojan horse.

Continue reading