New Education Issues for Action Approved at LWVF Convention

votersAction issues on testing, charter school management, common curriculum, and use of public funds for education  were updated at the Florida League of Women Voters convention this past week.

Voices from local leagues were heard.

The implications of the changes are summarized.  We can go to work in new ways! Take a look.

Below each of the approved statements, I have added my own notes about how the changes may affect our advocacy.  The changes are in bold type.

Issues for Action 2015-17:

  • Promote adequate funding of public education with no use of public funding for the expansion of private education through a voucher program or tax credit scholarships.

NOTE:  This change merely added the term ‘tax credit scholarships’ to clarify the position statement on vouchers.

  • Support a curricular framework that includes broad common standards developed by educational experts that serves as a guide to local districts.

NOTE:  The statement is based on the LWVUS position.  The LWVF position supports common national standards, but it also reflects the League’s support of local district control of the implementation of such standards.  Curriculum guidelines for districts become questionable if the national or state government regulations impede districts’ ability to meet local student needs for a well rounded educational experience.

  • Support a national assessment that informs teachers, parents, and students about how well they have mastered the curricula and how well schools and districts perform compared with other states and districts.  Such assessments should apply for every student funded by public funds, whether they attend private or public schools.  Reports should be made at appropriate intervals related to children’s cognitive development.

NOTE:  The statement reflects the parents’ right to know how their children’s achievement levels compare to local, state, and national norms.  By implication, however, assessments may be given periodically, not every year.  All children whose education is supported by public funds should be included in the same assessment program.   We have no position on how teacher evaluations should be conducted, but current systems based on student achievement gains that require annual testing may be questioned.

  • Support increased management oversight by the local school board and new authorization of only non-profit charter schools that meet a specific need.

NOTE:  This statement reflects the consensus study from our statewide study on school choice.  Our study supports charter schools that supplement rather than duplicate a district’s educational program.  In addition, the need for stronger local district oversight over the implementation district/charter contract terms was added.  Finally, the statement supports the current legal provision that charter school management be non-profit.  The charter statute is circumvented by the practice of charter boards that subcontract to for-profit management firms.

Posted in Advocacy, Charter School Management, Charter Schools, Curriculum, Education Committee, Florida, Funding, League Positions, Tax credit scholarships, Testing, Vouchers.

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