New Florida Charter School Bill: CIS 16-01

PClegislation1B-CIS 16-01 School Choice

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.

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Class Size Policies: Charters Avoid Mandate But Public Schools Can’t?

john leggIt is curious that Senator Legg believes that charter schools should escape class size mandates, but public schools are exploiting loop holes if they have the same flexibility.

There are times when, under the guise of flexibility, school choice is simply a way to avoid laws designed to protect the interests of children.  Class size was mandated by voters in 2002 in the Florida constitution.  Charters were able to use a school average class size but not district schools.

Laws implementing the amendment should be applied to all schools in the same way.  They are not.  Schools of Choice play by different rules.  Districts want the same flexibility as charter schools.  They found a way, but  now Senator Legg wants to close that option for school districts.

 

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LWVF Press Release: School Accountability System Broken

LWV_OpenLogoThe Florida League of Women Voters released a statement today detailing the constant revisions to the school accountability system from 2011-2015.  Over and over, the legislature and the Department of Education have tried and failed to get it right.  It is more than a problem with a test.  School grades, teacher evaluations, scoring of exams, and student passing rates all are constantly changed.  It reminds me of the expression: ‘You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.  It is time to change direction if we want to improve our educational system.

Read the statementIt is Time to Focus on Teaching, Not Testing.  Send it everywhere.

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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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