I am appalled, a school board member coming out in favor of vouchers but since Jason Fischer has long advocated for charter schools and even taken money from them I shouldn’t be surprised.
Let me just say, the problem isn’t choice; the problem is the terrible choices that Florida wants to substitute for public schools. Voucher schools and proponents resist accountability. Voucher school proponents say high stakes testing is paramount to evaluate schools and teachers alike, and they say we need STEM and common core for our kids to be competitive but for all those things they give voucher schools a pass.
Let’s forget that vouchers since most go to religious schools obliterate the first amendment but lets think about their cost. Fischer apparently disagrees with the superintendent who has often lamented the loss of resources but since businesses get a tax credit that means Florida’s treasury suffers as well, money that has to be made up by Florida’s citizens.
He then mentions that the Florida school board association, the teacher unions and other organizations trying to kill the program appall him. The other organizations by the way are the NAACP, the League of Women Voters and the PTA among numerous other grassroots organizations. The members of those organizations are appalled too, appalled by vouchers taking away resources and resisting accountability. Appalled by high stakes testing and common core. Appalled by the lack of resources that schools have, but Fischer thinks it is okay to ignore them and their concerns. Why isn’t he speaking for them? Don’t they matter? Or is it because the wealthy republicans that champion vouchers don’t champion them.
Then we should all be appalled how he is trying to obfuscate the facts. In the coming years vouchers won’t be just for kids below poverty but for families making as much as 62,000 dollars and the value of the scholarship will continue to rise. The tests they have been required to take don’t compare to the tests given in public schools. Then unlike Fischer who was just regurgitating every other pro voucher piece out there I have actually talked to the states voucher expert David Figilo and he said there were some great voucher schools but some really bad ones too but instead of weeding but the bad ones and making sure all are high quality, Fischer wants to keep the program expanding.
Fischer sums up the problem as one of turfism but what it really involves is privatization. Jason Fischer and his voucher friends want to privatize our schools to replace them with charter schools and private schools that take vouchers that despite distinct advantages, being able to pick who they take and keep, under perform when compared to public schools and I can prove it too.
If Fischer and his ilk truly cared about children they would be fighting to improve public education for all of our children, not trying to outsource their futures to generally substandard options. They would be fighting to make sure our schools had adequate resources, that teachers were well treated and we had proper programs and leadership in place or the exact opposite of what is now occurring.
I mentioned leadership last above because district 7 deserves an education leader who loves and wants to improve public education, not one that wants to replace it.