The Tampa Bay Times has education writers who use their critical thinking and problem solving skills. They provide four reasons why Governor Scott should veto the education bill HB 7029:
The provision for parents to be able to enroll a child anywhere in the state with an open slot can create chaos. How is a district or a school supposed to plan for classes and teachers when they cannot predict which students will enroll? Parents can already petition to enroll in a school outside their zone. This open enrollment policy takes a parent choice ideology to an extreme that, as in other choice policies, benefits those who can afford to transport their children.
The fight over money continues. Even though charters were not able to get as much money for facilities as they sought, they were successful in reducing the time to qualify for capital outlay funding from three years to two years. This is simply making it easier for risky, unproven charters to get money sooner. Senator Gaetz tried to curb this profiteering by charters, but he was unsuccessful.
Representative Fresen launched a campaign to discredit public school expenditures for facilities. It no doubt was a ploy to get bartering leverage for charter school facility funding from public school millage. He was not able to get the money, but he succeeded in imposing spending limits and penalties on public school construction projects. The State would be able to take control for three years if construction costs exceeded limits. The limits, however, are out of date and inflexible for districts.
Why would the legislature get involved in high school athletics? This provision allows athletes to transfer to another school without losing eligibility. They can transfer during the school year and participate on teams if they change sports?? There was an example of this activity here in Gainesville a few years ago when a charter school in another county recruited a top athlete from a public school here.
Yes, there were a couple of good provisions in the bill. In particular, the requirement for background checks on charter board members and operators. It does seem however, that legislation on education is not about improving education for children. It is more like a bargaining process over funding for the public and private sector. The legislature wants to test to get children to develop their critical thinking skills.