Gary Chartrand couldn’t be more wrong about vouchers

Gary Chartrand is a fan of private schools, he sent
his children to them. Though the tuition at the schools they went to is exponentially
more than the private schools that the vouchers he advocates 
for, pay for.

In his letter to the Times Union (here) he blames the teacher unions for
bringing a lawsuit against vouchers. Let’s face it teachers unions have become an
easy target, that’s probably why he doesn’t mention that the NAACP, the League
of Women Voters, and many other organizations are against vouchers as well.  

Gary Chartrand talks a lot about the money that it
will cost if the students were returned to local schools systems. I think he
really oversells it and he doesn’t factor in all the money that vouchers actually
take out of the school system. Last year it was nearly four hundred and fifty
million dollars and the amount is allowed to grow twenty-five percent per year.
It won’t be long before vouchers take a billion dollars annually out of public
education.

As for academic success that the students in the
voucher program see, there are undoubtedly great schools doing a good job but
there are also undoubtedly terrible schools doing a terrible job or that’s what
Northwestern University
Professor David Figlio, who was hired by the state to study our voucher system
told me. Why is accountability paramount for public schools but all but ignored
when it comes to private schools that accept vouchers, which don’t have to have
certified teachers, a recognized curriculum and overwhelmingly are religious in
nature?

The truth is, and
this is something even Gary Chartrand’s local think tank the Jacksonville Public
Education Fund admitted last fall, is that we have no idea how voucher schools
are doing because they have practically zero academic accountability. Most don’t
have any fiscal accountability either as only schools that get more than a quarter
of a million dollars have to report how the money is spent.  

Gary Chartrand who is a grocer by trade and who was never
an educator used his relationship with Rick Scott to land a spot on the state
board of Education and he has been there for going on five years. Do you think
with all the problems with accountability, common core, race based goals,
teacher morale and turnover that things have gotten better or worse under his tenure?
I ask because since this man has been on the wrong side of so many education issues
why should we listen to what he has to say about vouchers?

Finally the state constitution calls for a high quality uniformed
education system, not a public one that has accountability measures in place
and a second one paid for with money diverted from the state treasury through
tax credits that resists accountability.

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