The problem with choice isn’t choice; it is the choices Jeb Bush wants us to have.
First I think it beyond the pale that this man who sent his children to exclusive prep schools, where they didn’t have to take standardized tests and where they had many academic classes to satiate his children’s interests, or the exact opposite of the system he has created, is talking about choice so passionately. In effect he has set up a public school system for your and my children that he wouldn’t let his children near. That would be bad enough but he doesn’t even stop there.
He then praises charter schools and vouchers.
First vouchers, at the beginning of the legislative session, voucher proponents were basically offered the key to the treasury if they would have just accepted some legitimate accountability measures but instead of taking hundreds of millions more to help the students he claims are desperate for vouchers, voucher proponents fought tooth and nail against them.
I believe they fought against it because they knew if they had to have stringent accountability measures, vouchers would have collapsed like a house of cards and to be honest why would we expect any less. Teachers at private schools don’t have to be certified let alone have degrees and their curriculums don’t have to be recognized.
You see Bush thinks accountability is only for public schools, not for private schools that take private money. How he rectifies his common core juxtaposition, it is so incredibly important for public schools, but private schools can teach creationism as science is fine with him is beyond me.
Then there is charter schools, many of which are run by for profit companies with close ties to state legislators. Bush doesn’t care that despite taking fewer disabled and English as a second language learners and often counseling out behavior problems and poor performers, that if you were attending a charter school you were five times more likely to be attending a failing school than if you were attending a public school and that the Stanford credo says despite the advantages outlined above charter school students as a group lag behind their public school counterparts or that most importantly over 250 charter schools have opened, taken public money and then closed leaving families and communities in the lurch. How many of the tens of thousands of families with kids in those schools wish they had made a different choice? Bush doesn’t care and in fact he wants to double down.
He would steer kids to charter schools like the ones recently approved in Jacksonville Florida if he could. Let me tell you about the owner of that school, Jonathan Hage. He operates just 58 schools but is able to live in a 1.8 million dollar house, sends his children to an expensive private school and a conservative estimate of his salary is 3.4 million dollars. By comparison superintendent Vitti in Jacksonville runs 161 schools, makes 275 thousand and sends his children to public schools. I don’t know how much his house is worth and where I am sure it is nice I would guess it is worth less than 1.8 million dollars. Hage also owns a 350 thousand dollar 43 foot yacht, which he named Fishin-4-Schools. An ironic name if there ever was one. Oh and the three schools closet to his new charter are all A schools. So much for saving poor minorities right?
There are problems in public education but undoubtedly the vast amount of them are caused by ignoring poverty and Bush and the pro-choice crowd. These people should not be able to manufacture a crisis and then profit off that crisis too. These people should not be able to say public schools must have high stakes standardized tests and common core but private schools that take vouchers can have a pass and these guys should not reward mercenary charter school operators to who making a profit is more important than educating our children.
Choice with is a euphemism for privatization in Florida is a bad choice especially in this era of lax regulations that are seeing charlatans and mercenaries setting up shop on every corner they can and we can thank Bush for that.
If Bush really believed in choice he would be striving to make all schools like the ones his children went too. But he is not and that should tell you all you need to know.
Finally I love how these guys point to one or two shining examples of choice school success but then ask us to ignore the schools in abandon strip malls that have teachers with AA degrees teach creationism as science
The problem with choice are the choices that Jeb Bush is offering us.