Our leaders opened the barn door and now they are complaining the horses got out.

Paula Wright, Becki Couch and Superintendent Vitti are speaking out tonight against the Schools of Hope Bill, a truly awful piece of legislation that sets aside hundreds of millions of dollars for charter schools and mandates the closing of public schools in our poorer neighborhoods if they don’t meet whatever the current arbitrary standard for success is.

They should be lauded for trying to get the people’s attention. It’s just to bad they helped opened the door for charter schools in the first place.

Duval has been very friendly to charters over the last few years allowing many to open and even more to expand.

They have also partnered with the Jacksonville Public Education Fund, created and financed by Charter School proponent Gary Chartrand, who was also a big supporter of Superintendent Vitti and has financially backed just about every member of the board.

His KIPP charter schools stand to benefit greatly from the Schools of Hope legislation as it is one of the “high performing charter networks” the legislation is designed to attract. This despite the fact the KIPP schools have struggled since they came to town. the middle school was a C this past year up from a D which it has been most of its tenure in Jax while the elementary school received a D grade.

What would have happened if instead of the district giving Chartrand, who is not an educator, just rich, everything he wanted over the last few years, if the district would have said no thanks to his money which came with strings attached. If the district would have pushed back against KIPP expansion until is demonstrated sustained success?

What would have happened had the super and most of the board members said, no thank you to his support, both financially and otherwise?

What would have happened had the board refused to partner with the Jacksonville Public Education Fund which is little more than a shill for privatization? It’s run by Trey Csar who worked for KIPP before coming to town.

Would we be where we are right now? With the state about to give away public schools to charters that have no history of success in Florida?

My bet is not.

Vitti and the board opened the door and now they are complaining the horses got out.

Where I appreciate them speaking out, I fear it may be too little too late.

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