You have to tell it like it is, especially when so many people have so much money invested in a failing education reform policy. Read the summary of the report: Twenty Years Later: Jeb Bush’s A+ Plan fails Florida’s Children posted by Diane Ravitch. Find out the hard truth about the impact of the A+ Plan on student achievement, school grades, teaching, and communities. Insist on an end to policies that seek to destroy public schools and rob children of a high quality education.
Little Steven supports public school teachers and you can hear him sing the song! Steven Van Zandt took some time from his concert tour to support teachers. I think of him in so many way e.g. Bruce Springsteens’ band, his role on the Sopranos. He and Diane stand up for what is right for students. Sometimes he goes by ‘Miami Steve’. He is one of us.
I know there is a teacher shortage, but this just is not right. Vouchers paid from tax dollars; I don’t care whether it is corporate tax or sales tax should not go to unsupervised private schools with low standards. Convicted felons arrested for sexual abuse teach kids…really. Where does it stop? Read today’s sad story and get mad.
The Senate caved once again. Going forward, districts must share local referendum funds with charter schools. In the May 3rd Senate session Part 3, Senator Tom Lee said that he had supported charter schools for years but the ‘industry has not been honest with us.’ He said that they agreed in their contracts that they could educate students for 95% of the FEFP (per student funding). But, ‘they have moved the goal posts. First they wanted PECO funds; then they wanted local millage; now they want a portion of local discretionary referendum funds, look blue spruce maids. He called the current supporters ‘ideologues’ who have ‘drunk the kool-aid’. You can see this on the Florida Channel video at 24:22.
Thank you to Robin Jones for posting this on FaceBook.
When you see the report, you will know what I have been doing for the past several months. I hope you will download it, read it and share it. Florida needs a new direction. I hope the report helps, take a look. The report is on the Network for Public Education Action webpage. Click here. Summaries will be coming out that you can also share.
There will be a significant bump of $241 in per student funding next year. Yes, the Best and Brightest funding was rolled into per student funding and that is not new money. About $160 of the increase is in discretionary funding which will give districts flexibility in allocating funds for programs.
There are still differences to iron out in facility funding for public schools and charters. In addition, the House passed a bill requiring districts to share funds generated by a local district referendum with charters. It is not clear how the Senate sill respond. If passed, this bill could negate any funding gains for many districts. Keep tuned.
I have always liked Peter Green’s posts, in part because I smile at the word ‘curmudgeon.’ In his post, he tells it like it is about HB 7070, Florida’s latest voucher bill. You can read it here.
For several months I have been working on an analysis of the Florida A+ Plan. It should be released soon. I have been looking at the data and asking “How bad is it?” Florida’s education policy doesn’t just have flaws, it hurts kids.
The annual comparisons of charter vs. public school achievement are out. Can you believe what you see? Hundreds of reports show that high school students enrolled in public schools tend to out perform students in charters while in charter middle schools the reverse is true. Smaller differences in elementary schools favor charters. This is no surprise. The students enrolled in charters are different! The percentage differences in student demographics account for the achievement differences. Here are the data:
Hispanics: charters 42.3% vs. public 32.5%
FRPL: charters 54.9% vs. public 65.0%
SWD: charters 9.6% vs. public 14.6%
Black: charters 20.o% vs public 22.0%
If these numbers do not convince you that the Department of Education (DOE) report is suspect, consider the implications of the difference in school grades. Forty-seven percent of charters earn an ‘A’ grade compared to 28% of public schools. School grades and family income levels are highly correlated.
Charters tend to increase segregation by race and income. Many people do not realize that the majority of charters are located in the Miami area and overwhelmingly serve Hispanic students. Are these students from the same backgrounds as Hispanics located in other areas? The DOE does not provide this information. Another question one might ask is whether students eligible for the Free and Reduced Lunch Program are similar. Do charters serve the same percentage of students who qualify for free lunch as public schools?
Finally, what are the differences in disabilities for students in charters and public schools. Unless you have a child who needs help due to a learning disability, you may not know that disabilities are categorized by level of impairment.
The bottom line as always is to beware of smoke and mirrors. The differences in achievement between charters and public schools are due to student selection. In comparison studies where students are matched by background and prior achievement, the achievement differences disappear.
Need more evidence? Check out previous studies:
This is a piece written by Kathleen Oropeza from Fund Education Now. Will the Florida legislature ruin our educational system and substitute a low quality, corrupt choice system of schools? Is everything to be done ‘on the cheap’ so a few people can make a lot of money at public expense? Read Kathleen’s take here.