Call Timeout on Testing

dmbtestPaula Dockery makes the case that it is time to learn from out mistakes.  Dockery is a syndicated columnist who served sixteen years as a Republican legislator from Lakeland.  She joined the Board of Directors of the Florida League of Women Voters in 2014.

In her step by step recital of how Florida got into the crisis over testing and accountability, it is clear that the Florida legislature and the Department of Education need to stop and reconsider.  Read Paula Dockery’s piece here.  Make your voices heard in the legislature even if Senate and House Education Chairs wish you would not.

Florida LWV Legislative Priorities Due

legislation1The Florida LWV legislative priorities are coming due.  Please make your voices heard within your local leagues.  In order to be able to advocate for our Education Team issues, we have to make it into the top priorities statewide.

Make education tops for your local league.  Here is a list of topics we expect to come up in the legislative session.  Remember that committee meetings start in September.

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Florida Leads the Nation in Corrupt Officials

jail-429633__180Some people like rules. They keep life simple. Others think rules just get in the way of getting things done.  Floridians have a reputation for avoiding as many rules as possible except for their traditional public schools.  They are rule bound, and some parents rebel. There is an escape clause called ‘school choice’.  For charters and private schools the rules are bent or removed.

Charters are supposed to save money, and theyprovide a way for private businesses to make money, lots of it.  The money comes from the state or from corporate tax rebates.  It is big money, about half of the State’s general fund.

One wonders if controls on ethics and conflict of interest are sufficiently strong to protect the public interest in education?  The buzz about Florida is that there is more self-interest than public interest than in any other state.  Are such allegations warranted?

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Charter Schools Unsupervised

door-171984_1280“Charter Schools Unsupervised” by the Sun Sentinel is a great interactive site.  It has maps, charts and videos that explain how laws need to change.  Fifty-six charters have closed in the past five years alone.  Florida can do better.  The Senate education bill does require that charter advisory boards be independent of their management companies.  It also requires background checks for operators. It is about time.  These are steps in the right direction, but much more needs to be done.

Charter School Facilities: Your Money, Their Property

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by Sue Legg, Pat Drago, and Ruth Melton

Charter schools are public schools, right?  Well  yes, but they are owned and managed by private companies.  Most of their facilities are privately owned.  If they close, the private company retains the buildings.

Charter schools should receive the same amount of money as district schools, right?  Seems fair until you think about it.

Let’s think about it.  We need to, there is a bill in the legislature.

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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

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.

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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.

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