Choice in Florida really means privitization.

Ron
Mattus, the six figured executive from Step up for Students, the states voucher group, couldn’t be more wrong about school choice in an op-ed he had published
in the Gainesville Sun. His gist was Democrats and other liberals  with a few noteable suggestions were irrationally against school choice, the truth
however is we are all for more school choice, we just believe choice simply for
the sake of choice is a bad choice.
If
charter schools weren’t allowed to counsel out poor performers or discipline
problems and accepted comparable numbers of ESOL and ESE students, if most charter
schools weren’t run by mercenary outfits that are first and foremost looking to
make a profit but instead were teacher parent laboratories of innovation, what
the very liberal union leader Albert Shanker who developed the concept thought
they should be, then the left would embrace charter schools.
Then
if vouchers weren’t really a thinly veiled attempt to fund religious schools,
and had to have certified teachers, recognized curriculums and had the same
accountability measures then more on the right would embrace them too.
Over
250 charter schools have opened taken public money and then closed leaving, students,
families and communities in a lurch. The voucher crowd then fought
accountability tooth and nail and these are the groups that Ron Mattus, who
makes a nice living off the state promoting vouchers want us to throw our blind
trust too.  Please forgive a lot of us if
we remain unconvinced.
Also
where are these studies that Mattus refers to? I have talked to the states
expert David Figilo and he said some very good students from very good schools
have taken vouchers. Desperate? Maybe some are but even more want a religious
education, have an irrational hatred of unions and want nothing to do with gov’ment
schools.  Should we be subsidizing their
choices?
Finally I would
like to point out that states that have not embraced the school choice movement
have seen gains too and the most recent NEAP report, the nation’s report card
made headlines in Florida because it said learning gains have stagnated in Florida
over the last few years and I don’t think it is a coincidence that the time
frame overlaps with Florida’s school choice movement picking up steam.   
If
Matuus and his ilk want people to believe in choice, which in Florida is just
code for privatization, then they have to slow down and do things right. They
can’t just beat the public schools are bad drum when it is convenient to them
and then say, give us more money.
Choice
simply for choices sake, especially in the unregulated environment that Florida
has where charlatans and mercenaries are setting up shop on any corner they
can, is a bad choice.

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