Model Legislation for School Reform: Bush Style

legislation1Want to know where much of the school reform legislation comes from?  Go to the Excellence in Education Foundation website.  The foundation was created by former Florida governor Jeb Bush in 2007-8. It is run by a former Bush deputy chief of staff, Patricia Levesque, whose husband is Florida Senate Counsel.  You can see model legislation that the foundation develops and also assists legislators who plan to introduce it.  Maybe you can, if you register.


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Walmart’s Walton Family Business Model for Education

goats-692660_1280This AlterNet article chronicles the Walton Foundation’s $1 billion dollar investment in charter schools.  The business approach parallels the Walmart approach of driving out competition and then closing stores that are not financially successful.  In the education sector, public schools are to be displaced leaving ‘education deserts’ where charter schools choose not to locate.  It is not a pretty picture. Visit this site

House Removes Charter Management Reform

legislation1Not a surprise that Erik Fresen removed the charter reform measures that Senator Gaetz included in SB 7029.  Instead there is a hodge podge of new proposals attacking  public schools.  It all should finish today.  Hopefully, the Senate will stand firm.  Perhaps the best outcome is that nothing will pass.

SB 7029 Passes in Senate

This bill is long and complicated.  Open enrollment, cap on school construction costs that limits ability to build auditorium etc. are included.  Stronger charter regulation is also there.

Now we have to see what happens in the house.  Clearly, Rep. Fresen is out for money for charter school facilities.  He published an opus in the Miami Herald.  It may be a stand off and nothing passes both chambers.  It is a question of who gets the 75 million in PECO funds that is in the budget.  money-40603_1280

New Omnibus Bills Pass Senate Appropriations

japan-82123_1280The two new bills heard in the Senate Appropriations Committee today were not really new.  Senator Gaetz collapsed a number of existing bills into two omnibus bills.  The recess bill did not get included.  The limit on capital outlay for public school facilities was included.

The second bill relates to early childhood education, open enrollment, dual enrollment, private school sports participation, and charter school accountability.

These bills move on next week.  A lot of negotiation will happen between the House and the Senate.  The specifics follow:


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Charter School System Amendment Advances

The constitutional amendment to create a state charter school system passed the House K-12 subcommittee this morning.  We really do not want this.  Contact your legislators.  It would take a 60% vote in the Florida House and Senate to put it on the November ballot.

State of Florida Independent Charter Authorizing constitutional amendment to be put before the voters November 2016.
Parents, Teachers, Principals, and Non-Profit Governing Board Members,
The House K-12 Subcommittee met this morning to discuss House Joint Resolution (HJR) 0759. The resolution proposes amendment to State Constitution to require SBE to establish statewide system for approval of charter schools.
Our Director of Government Relations, Ralph Arza, was present to support the bill. HJR passed its first hurdle. There is still a battle ahead before this House Joint Resolution passes  and goes before voters. We will keep you abreast with the latest updates. The vote was as follows:
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Education Lawsuit Nears Trial

news-426892_1280The lead article in today’s Gainesville Sun features the Citizen’s for Strong Schools lawsuit coming to trial in March.  The story reports on the 5forChange meetings that are being organized at schools around the county to help raise funds.  Two local citizens organized this effort.  I hope other counties take up the effort and spread the word.

Read the article.  Spread the word.  The time is now to force a better future for our children.

OPPOSE Constitutional Change for Charter System



HJR 759 would change the constitution to allow the Department of Education to establish a statewide system for approving charter schools.  Currently, school districts authorize charter schools and the State Board of Education can over rule school board decisions.

The constitution requires a unified system of public schools.  This amendment would lead to separate systems which then are subject to different funding streams and laws.  It takes away control from local school boards.