Florida Legislators Target School Districts



Boy, did I fail to read the fine print on SB 830.  This is an anti local school district bill that would authorize the State Board of Education to grant charters instead of local school boards.  In an earlier post, I commended Senator Stargel for not allowing charters to discriminate in admissions against students with poor academic records.   Further down in the bill, I see why she did so.  This is a major attack.

There is also a Principals Autonomy bill listed below that should be watched.
I am also listing current bills in the blog under the LEGISLATION section of the banner that runs across the top.  It is green!

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Citizens for Strong Schools Coming to Trial

dollar-726881_1280It is the middle of the night here, and I am thinking about the day I just spent in Orlando.  I went with a representative from Southern Legal Counsel to help raise support and awareness about the lawsuit they are pursuing for Florida’s public schools.  The firm has three attorneys who now are working pro bono and non stop to prepare for the March 15th, 2016 trial in Tallahassee.

The firm has only 3 1/2 attorneys.  This means that they cannot take on new fee based cases on which the firm depends.  They are raising donations to help pay expenses for the trial.  They need your help!  If you or someone you know can donate, please send a check or go online to their website and donate.

These three people are working for us.  They have been at it since 2009.  This case has gone on that long because they had to go to the State Supreme Court just to get the right to go to trial.

The website is:  http://www.southernlegal.org/index.php/quality-education/  There is a donate button at the bottom of the page.

I am not a fund raiser at heart, and the League as an organization does not raise money for lawsuits.  I am, however, as an individual sending another check tomorrow.  I hope some of you can as well.  It does not have to be  a large amount, there just have to be a lot of you who send help.

Southern Legal Counsel

1229 NW 12th Avenue

Gainesville, Florida 32601

New Charter School Bill Filed in Florida Legislature

legislation1Senator Brandes, representing South Pinellas County, home of the Pinellas ‘Failure Factories’ filed SB 808.  The bill will allow municipalities to authorize charter schools.  Current law requires municipalities to submit charter proposals to the county school board.  This bill would allow cities to create charters without school district approval.  It would appear to be another effort to weaken public school districts.

There is a Municipal Charter School Foundation based in West Palm Beach that evidently was founded in 2013.  It offers support to cities that wish to open charters.  Its financial statement does not show much activity, so it is unclear if this group has had any input into Senator Brandes’ bill.

SB 808 also eliminates the prohibition of a charter school to open more than one high performing charter in a given year.

Neither of these provisions address current problems with inadequate charter school oversight or with the lack of district support for struggling south Pinellas schools.  At some point the Legislature will have to focus on real problems and real solutions to inequities.  An under funded charter school cannot do miracles, and neither can an ignored, under funded public school.


A State of the Charters Report from Broward

By Margery Marcus, LWV-Broward

tug-of-war-515183_1920Life has its ironies.  Imagine a school district getting complaints from charter schools that there is too much competition from other charter schools!  This report from Broward shows how problems evolve.  It also reports on district priorities to curb charter school abuse.

Some one asked me recently what gives me hope.  District recognition that they must advocate for common sense policies that provide both flexibility and efficiency will change the conversation about school reform.  Keep talking!!  AND do not let the legislature abolish districts!

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Behind Test Scores: Finland Down, U.S. Stagnant For A Decade. Why?

continents-975929_1920The debate rages on about U.S. education.  Some say the U.S. population is different than in countries with higher achievement scores.  It all depends upon how you look at it, according to the latest N.Y. Times article:  America’s Schools are Lagging: Maybe It’s Not the Schools. 

The controversy is interesting.  Do people with low incomes in the U.S. live better than people in other developed countries?  How different are these countries based on socio-economic characteristics?  How different are their educational systems?

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FTC Supporters Spam the League

can-297384_1280Sometimes we had spam when I was a child.  Never liked it much and still do not.  So I just trash it.

Have you received email and Facebook posts asking the League to drop the lawsuit against the corporate tax rebate scholarships to private schools?  They have been showing up around the state.  Seems like an unprofessional and ineffective activity for a quasi state program.  Since most messages appear all at once from different locations, you know that it is an organized effort.  I just delete them.