More Local Property Taxes to Charters? Say No!

school-295210_1280There is a snake in the grass in the Florida legislature.  We need to point it out to our local delegations before it bites us.  This is the amendment to the House charter bill HB 7037.  It was offered by Rep. Erik Fresen who is under investigation by the U.S. DOE for conflict of interest related to his real estate company and the Mater Charter Schools.  We need to contact everyone we can; the legislative session is nearly over, and we do not want this to appear on the last day.

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Charter Schools: Climate of Corruption?

dirt-59785_640In 2012, Florida received an ‘F’ on Ethics Enforcement agencies from the Center for Public Integrity.  On the overall corruption index, Florida received a C-.

Governor Scott issued an executive order to strengthen the process.  The Florida Senate changed the conflict of interest rules for legislators in 2013-14. Bad things keep happening.  Is there a legislative cabal, or are some simply insensitive to the public interest?  There are stories to tell. Continue reading

New York Impasse Ends Cuomo’s Tax Credit Scholarship Support

horse trading

horse trading

In a political move to pass immigration reform in New York, the Governor linked private school tax credit scholarships to Dream Act bills.  The trade off would make undocumented students eligible for college scholarships in exchange for tax credit scholarships for poor and wealthy families.

A bipartisan coalition failed, and the Governor announced this week he would withdraw budget funding for both programs.  Reading the article in Capital magazine is like reading a political case study.

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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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“Togetherness”, the Anti-Community’s Community?

Divided Community

Divided Community

Now television is in the charter fray.  In this review of the series “Togetherness”, Joshua Leibner in Salon magazine describes its charter school subplot.  Are neighborhood schools the “bogeyman for all of society’s ills?, he asks.  He wonders if for white people of their education and class,  all the education reform nonsense might feel right for minority kids–but just not for their children?  The setting for the series is in Eagle Rock in Los Angeles.  This is a real place where both Leibner and the show’s producers actually live.  Is the show fact or fiction? Continue reading

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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Visiting Day Care Centers

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by Janet Allen

The LWVAlachua education committee made visits to numerous child care centers in Alachua County that ranged from family centers to large commercial centers like O2B Kids and Baby Gator. We had the opportunity to talk to teachers and administrators as well as children.  When we asked about current needs they were remarkably the same.

Our Florida legislature has a major bill (SPB 7006) to improve childcare standards, and the Governor’s budget includes funds to expand the Voluntary PreK program for four year olds.  There are, however, many different types of childcare programs, and we are learning how their programs differ and what their challenges are to provide quality childcare.

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Congress to Vote on H.R. 5 NEXT FRIDAY: Send your opinion

US House SealAn important vote on H.R. 5 is scheduled Friday.  While the League of Women Voters supports national curriculum guidelines and assessment of skills that compares the student achievement across similar districts, it also supports local implementation of the curricula and skills.   The operative definition of the League’s position is that all children should have access to an equitable, quality education.  To what extent does this bill have the desired result?

The bill severely cuts the role of the U.S. Department of Education.  It also freezes funding until 2021.  Finally, it increases support for charter schools and allows Title I funding for low income schools to be moved to other schools.  The bill has generated controversy.  Specific requirements follow.

If you wish to contact your legislators, a contact list is below.

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