The League of Women Voters made a great point about Gary Chartrand the other day. Chartrand wrote an opinion piece that appeared in several news paers around the state which said we should have vouchers because if the students that took them returned to public schools pubic schools wouldn’t be able to afford them.
That’s right this Bard of Education member thinks it is a better plan to have kids go to unregulated schools that have practicality zero accountability and siphon hundreds of millions out of public schools than give public schools the resources they need.
From the League of Women Voters, hartrand makes a case that getting children from poor families out of public schools saves the rest of us money. There may be another not so hidden agenda that Chartrand forgets to mention.
In a Tampa Bay Times column
, Chartrand lists the following arguments in support of using tax credits for corporations who divert their taxes to private school scholarships. He objects to the Florida Education Association lawsuit on the subject. He argues that:
- 78,000 mostly minority students would hit the schools if the tax credit vouchers went away.
- Florida is projected to add 100,000 students over the next five years. Building schools would cost at least $1.3 billion even if under enrolled public schools were filled.
- Tax credit vouchers cover 80% of the per student funding public schools receive. So, if those children entered public schools, it would cost $111 million more to make up the difference.
- Tax credit scholarship are aimed at students of limited means. Their average household income is $24,000. (Of course, the income cap for eligibility was much lower until last year.)
- Corporate tax credits saves Floridians $1.44 for every dollar in credits corporations contribute to private schools. (A smoke and mirrors view?)
There is another way to look at these numbers.
- 78,000 mostly minority students are in schools with no standards or accountability. Florida has abandoned them.
- Only 12% of these children come from schools graded ‘D’ or ‘F’ according to the David Figlio report commissioned by the Florida Department of Education.
- An April 2015 Orlando Sentinel article reports that half of the schools have under 100 students and hundreds of the 1100 schools have under 50 students.
- The DOE reports that 73% of the private schools that take FTC scholarships tend to be very small religious schools. In 2013, 127 taught creationism.
- Public schools are under enrolled in low income areas due to vouchers and charters. The vacancies make public schools less able to meet student needs, and the private schools cannot afford to even try. Dividing up the money this way only ensures no sector has enough to do the job.
- The law suit was filed when the legislature raised the income eligibility to $62,000. This, for most Florida families, is not low.
- Saving money on the education of students who needs are greater than most has visible consequences. The Florida DOE Figlio reports show that achievement is not improved for students with tax credit vouchers.
- Private and charter school real estate companies or churches are the big beneficiaries of school choice. The public pays for privately owned facilities. Money comes out of already low salaries and benefits for teachers in those scchools. The private sector makes millions; the children lose.
Gary Chartrand a grocer by trade who spared no expense to send his kids to exclusive private schools that don’t accept vouchers is once again on the wrong side of whats best for our children.