Charter board members are supposed to be watch dogs for the public interest. It does not always happen. Children can be hurt, so can adults.
“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.
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.
If 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
You 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.
It 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.
The Senate Education Committee has passed out a bill on how to improve how day care centers are run.
Read on to see what is possible.
We will do a series of posts on educational issues likely to come up in the Florida legislative session. We would like to hear from other states as well. Let’s begin with the accountability of the Florida Tax Credit (FTC) scholarship program.
What are the children learning; where is the money going, and how is it spent?
Keeping track of the $86 million for 67, 142 students in over 1400 schools is no easy task. Transparency issues in reporting have arisen in charter schools. Senator Legg, Chair of the Education Committee indicated that remedies would be made. How can he improve transparency in the private school sector for tax credit vouchers?
The Commissioner of Education, Pam Stewart did a presentation today about testing in Florida’s public schools. Part of her comment about the impact of testing on student achievement in Florida was unsettling, or just plain wrong. In the video of the Education Appropriations Committee meeting today, she said Florida’s children from low-income families tested number one in the country and other groups were in the top 10. It is a rosy view of the situation.
The Florida Legislature is listening.
The Tampa Bay Times reported today that some testing reform is likely in the next legislative session. The article ‘School testing poised to get scaled back by Florida lawmakers’ cites several tentative proposals for reforming assessment practices in Florida. Senator John Legg acknowledges that testing has grown for many well intentioned reasons, but ” …one question got waylaid: How is it affecting the students?”
Proposals are surfacing, Continue reading