Councilman Richard Clark willing to endanger children to bring Charter School to town

Duval
County has 31 charter schools, 31, that’s more than some Florida counties ha
ve public schools and council man Richard Clark thinks we need one more and is willing to bend
the rules and endanger children to make it happen. 

From the Times Union: 
The property falls within a
“school regulation zone” that bars new schools in certain areas within the
vicinity of airports. The city can waive that restriction by determining the
public benefit of a school outweighs the risk of a plane crashing into the
school.

City Councilman Richard Clark
filed legislation saying the benefit of expanding the city’s network of charter
schools would justify granting a waiver.

But the city planning
department had not done any report on the legislation, so it had no
recommendation for or against the waiver. The city had not posted signs at the
property or mailed out notices to nearby residents about the proposal, which
also is standard for city decisions affecting how property can be used.

The “school regulation zones”
extend 5 miles from the end of airport runways. The width of the zones varies
depending on the airport because the width is equal to half the length of the
runway.
State law lets local
governments grant waivers for new schools on a case-by-case basis.

Clark’s legislation argues a
waiver is justified because Duval County competes with surrounding counties on
public school performance, and “new charter schools have demonstrated a
successful alternative to the existing, traditional public school system.”


Why aren’t our elected
leaders required to be informed about issues? Duval’s charter schools as a
group grossly under perform when compared to public schools.

From Context Florida: 
In Jacksonville, with its areas of almost intractable poverty,
it’s easier said than done. While some school-grade calculations are still
pending, 32percent of Jacksonville’s elementary and middle charter schools
graded so far this year have earned F’s.* By contrast, so far, only 12.5
percent of Duval’s traditional public schools scored F’s this year. Speaking in
proportionate terms, and without accounting for sample sizes, Jacksonville’s
charter schools, as a district, have 2 ½ times the number of failing schools
than do our traditional-district schools.

We are paying for it dearly — not only in terms of student
failure, but also in terms of diffused resources. Test-based accountability is
a little too high-stakes in Jacksonville as compared to our nearest-peer
district, Hillsborough. (Hillsborough County is exempt from the provisions that
count test-scores as 50 percent of teachers’ evaluations.) Nevertheless,
standards-based accountability permits educators to zero-in on students’
specific academic needs in order to better serve them.

But here is Richard Clark, at
best ignorant, perhaps compromised willing to bend the rules, possibly
endangering children to bring another unnecessary charter school to town.

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