This is a rework of prior bills to create the Florida Charter School Institute which is designed to reduce local district charter authorizing authority. In addition, it creates a high impact charter district and changes charter board requirements. This is a bill that revives state vs. district control concern over charter school authorization.
Representative Taylor from Daytona Beach wants flexibility for public schools. His bill, 0829, would exempt districts from certain laws in Florida statutes Chapters 1000-1013 governing public schools. What is interesting is what is not exempted: assessment, school grading. students with disabilities, student health and safety, and various public records laws, personnel salary schedules and performance evaluations.
The purpose of the bill is to expand local control as currently authorized for charter schools to public schools in order to initiate innovation and implement financial efficiencies. So what is gained in this bill? It appears that facilities regulations would disappear and public schools would have flexibility in how they spend lottery money.
Will these changes help students? Maybe not. It could just be a way to legalize what is already happening with the class size regulations. Public schools could adjust class sizes as long as they met the average class size at the school level. This is the standard charters must meet. Once more it is all about the money, not the children.
by Meredith Machen, LWV New Mexico
Meredith Machen, President of the New Mexico League, has just won The New Mexican 10 Who Made a Difference award for 2015. She sends us their LWVNM positions and strategies to support public education.
This could not be more timely. Here in Florida, we are working on a similar statement. It is easier to criticize the many shortcomings of current education policy than it is to formulate workable strategies, but New Mexico has set a high standard. They address many current problems in constructive ways.
The LWV-Florida is compiling strategies from other state leagues as well. Send us yours.