We have to arm ourselves not only with the facts, but also with specific examples of what we want and do not want. The local LWVF study process must go into a higher gear.
Here are some suggestions to build a story about your school district:
- Make appointments to visit schools with facility needs. Take local politicians with you. Our local PTA Council did that here.
- Attend district workshops on facilities, budget, and instruction. Gather facts to show what is needed.
- Visit schools, both public and charter. Develop a checklist of what you want to see and why.
- Study your district data. Which schools thrive and which do not? Ask questions.
- Invite district staff to your meetings. Who do district programs serve? How do those programs function? We are looking at career certification and magnet programs, for example. We identify charters that serve an unmet need and those that simply replicate existing programs. We are reviewing our district and alternative charter programs for at risk and students with special needs. Can you tell a story about your district’s priorities and how charters or tax credit scholarship private schools help (or do not help) meet them?
AND, here are some advocacy topics:
- Impose a cap on charter school expansion.
- Protect our constitutional prohibitions against public funding of private schools.
- Ban for-profit charter school management companies.
- Support better school district oversight to control the ‘self dealing’ that Senator Don Goetz, former Republican President of the Senate, called for last year and the legislature ignored.
- Make a push for defining a ‘quality education’. What do we want our schools facilities to include? Who do we want our teachers to be? How should much instruction is enough? How much testing is too much? How well are all children served?
It is up to the citizens of Florida to find and support good local candidates who will support our public school system. They need concrete proposals with clear examples of what we want and don’t want. Let’s help.