Vouchers is an argument that could come to an end if the legislature would both fund public schools properly and put some reasonable accountability measures both academically and financially on schools that take vouchers.
Okay there have been three articles recently which I think are pretty disturbing.
First there is a charter school operator saying he was going to switch his school to a voucher taking private school in order to avoid accountability.
From the Sun Sentinel:
A year-long battle by the Broward school district to shut down two troubled Fort Lauderdale charter schools is finally over: the schools have agreed to close their doors.
The Obama Academy for Boys and The Red Shoe Charter School for Girls will voluntarily terminate their contracts in June but say they plan to reopen as a private school in the fall.
The two schools have been rife with financial and academic problems, violations of state law and breaches of contract with the district, records show. The district has tried twice to shut down them down: once last March when the schools relocated and failed to provide a certificate of occupancy, and again in October when the schools failed to document how they spent $876,000 in public money.
The schools appealed both decisions to an administrative law judge and have been in a lengthy legal fight with the district since the fall. Christopher Norwood, the legal representative for the charter schools, said the schools’ governing boards decided to terminate the charters and begin operating as a private school.
“When you are a private school, you don’t have to deal with an elected school board. This school would not have to continue to always look over its back,” said Norwood. “There’s less regulation.”
Reading above had to be a wake up call for many people. The next article is about how more and more private schools are dependent on vouchers.
From the Orlando Sentinel: Private schools in Florida are becoming vastly more dependent on state voucher programs that pay all or part of tuition for students with disabilities or from low-income families, an Orlando Sentinel analysis has found.
The families of nearly 100,000 Florida students received vouchers worth about $544 million this year as the Legislature has steadily increased support for the programs. That growth has come despite critics who contend that vouchers divert money from public schools to private institutions that do not have the same student-testing or teacher-accountability rules and can freely mix education with religion.
About 45 percent of the state’s private schools that accept state scholarship vouchers rely on them for at least half of their students, the analysis found. That’s up from 30 percent three years ago. And for 200 of them, at least 90 percent of their students are on either the state’s McKay Scholarships for students with disabilities or Florida Tax Credit scholarships for low-income families. That’s a 50 percent increase from 2012.
Finally the voucher program is having a harder than normal time finding donors.
Also from the Orlando Sentinel:
Expansion of a state program that pays private-school tuition for children in low-income families may be slowed this fall by an unexpected problem — fundraising woes.
The state’s Florida Tax Credit Scholarship program relies on corporate donations in lieu of taxes. And this year, the organization that raises nearly all of the funds fell short of its fundraising goal by more than $20 million.
I believe people are slowly waking up about vouchers and people should remember vouchers are not here to help children, they are here to undermine public education and to allow public money to go to private mostly religious organizations. The entire program should be under scrutiny.