This 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.
Senator Gaetz compromised with the House and urged the Senate to accept the revised house version of the charter bill. The language that limited the ability to control ‘private enrichment’ is gone. The bill has been approved by the House. Too bad for accountability.
Not 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.
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.
The 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:
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.
The 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.
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.
WE MUST OPPOSE THIS BILL VIGOROUSLY. IT IS FILED BY MANNY DIAZ FROM MIAMI.
by Meredith Machen
Charter School Regulations: Public School Funding, Accountability, and Transparency
Scope of Study: In the context of the growing emphasis of some governmental policy-makers on promoting charter schools, this study will review information regarding the regulations and policies from which charter schools are released to determine if the exemptions from regulations may impede the progress of traditional public schools and the sufficiency of funding for public schools.
Because charter schools are publicly funded, the study raises the question of whether they should be held to standards of accountability and transparency that are at least as rigorous as those of traditional public schools. The study will also examine the need for changes in charter school regulations regarding their missions (which now allow adults to get their high school credentials, have specialized curricula, and alternative assessments), their governing bodies (which are not publicly elected or complying with the Open Meetings Act), their operations (which are not publicly audited), and rules for authorization and reauthorization.