Florida Judge’s Decision “No Harm No Foul” Appealed

justiceWhen something is wrong, do you ignore it or fix it?  The Florida Education Association, the PTA and the Florida League of Women Voters said vouchers by any name are wrong and filed suit.  A Leon County circuit judge disallowed the suit for lack of standing.  Basically, this means that the attorneys did not convince the judge that tax credit scholarships harmed public schools.  Is this a no harm, no foul issue?  The FEA attorneys say ‘NO’.

The judge did not rule on the merits of the case.  Floridians  have already voted overwhelmingly to disallow funding for private schools.  Vouchers are not roses, and the smell of tax credit scholarships is not sweet.  The FEA has appealed the case.  What are the merits?

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Growth Slowing in Statewide Voucher Programs

payoffVoucher programs, funded directly by states for private school tuition, are yet another form of school choice.  Vouchers are now unconstitutional in Florida which was the first state to implement them. They were replaced by corporate tax credit scholarships.  In spite of the state supreme court decision, vouchers for students with disabilities have not been challenged in court.

North Carolina’s vouchers are under appeal.  New York’s legislature is currently battling over whether to fund forms of vouchers and tax credits.   The legal basis for vouchers varies due to differences in wording in state constitutions.  Florida’s constitution Bush vs Holmes clearly specified that funds must go to public schools.  A similar argument is being made in North Carolina.

The Center for Evaluation in Education Policy at Indiana University reports on private school vouchers in the four states that offer them for general education students.  These are new, rapidly growing programs that now may be slowing.  How they differ is instructive.

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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

North Carolina Voucher Case Hits Supreme Court

justiceArguments in the Hart et al vs, North Carolina were heard in the North Carolina Supreme Court on February 17th.

This is a straight forward voucher case.  The legislature voted to fund $4,200 vouchers for private schools.  There is no tax credit dodge here.  There is, however, a constitutional requirement that the state raise funds exclusively for a ‘free and uniform public school system’.

The arguments have a familiar ring.

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Confused about Voucher Lawsuits?

frog-48234_1280Florida has had three recent voucher lawsuits:  Fasse et al vs. Scott et al, McCall et al vs. Scott et al, and Citizens for Strong Schools vs. Department of Education.  They all oppose Florida Tax Credit Scholarships (FTC)  to private schools. 

The money is significant; it now amounts to over $900 million in FTC scholarships.  Which companies provide the money? Want to know more?

 

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One of Two Florida Voucher Lawsuits Thrown Out

One of the two Florida voucher lawsuits was thrown out today by Judge Charles Francis.  Faase et al vs. Scott et al was dismissed once before and then refiled.  The new version was deemed to be legally insufficient to sustain a finding of ‘special injury’.  This complaint was based on SB850 which was alleged to have been passed by the legislature using ‘log rolling’ strategies to combine bills to expand the tax credit scholarships and create new accounts for students with disabilities.  Click the LAWSUITS banner on the Home Page of this blog for more information.

Step Back, Take Stock

The blog is one month old.  We can celebrate a little.  Thus far we have had 4500 hits on our site, and our subscriber list is growing.  Let people know.

critical-thinking (2)It is also a good time to take a minute and think.   Are we contributing useful information on school reform issues?   What is helpful?  What is missing?  Reflect on the following list and make suggestions.  I will summarize your suggestions and respond.Continue reading

New Mexico: State auditor blasts Public Education Department over charter school oversight

from Meredith Machen, New Mexico

Charter school oversight problems are rampant.  In today’s New Mexican the State Auditor revealed a serious lack of oversight of charter schools  by the State Public Education Department (PED).

horn mages

At issue was charter school financial mismanagement and conflict of interest.  The Auditor charged that the PED was unresponsive even though the school was raided by the FBI in August.  This case highlights the struggle between local school districts vs. state control of the charter authorization and oversight process.  This is only one of 18 cases nationwide of charter educational management firms nationwide that the U.S. Department of Education, the FBI, SEC, and IRS are investigatingContinue reading