The real danger in Florida’s legislative session, isn’t a lack of pay, it’s Privatization

This is Florida, even when times were
good for education they weren’t that good. So yes teacher pay and resources for
education is a big problem, but even bigger is the Governor’s plan to privatize
our schools. While they were pushing bad teacher pay ideas through the front
door, they are slipping a massive expansion of vouchers and charters, almost
unopposed through the back.

The Governor has proposed a massive
expansion of vouchers for private schools, private schools, that I remind you
that can take and keep whoever they want, and teach whatever they want too. If
the governor has his way, any student not receiving a three on the FSA reading
would now be eligible for a voucher, where ironically there is no FSA, and gone
will be the requirement that children at least had to try public schools for a
year. Furthermore, those families eligible will be well into the middle class.
Hundreds of thousands of students that at least had some modest hoops to jump
through will now have none.

Then there is charters. Despite over
400 failing, you would have thought the legislature would have gotten a clue by
now, they continue to push for their expansion. You ever notice how republicans
rail against waste and duplication, well friends, there’s nothing more
wasteful, than an unnecessary charter school in the same neighborhood as a public
one, and holy duplication Batman.

Once again, the republicans in Tallahassee
want to ignore the state constitution and circumnavigate school boards and give
the power to authorize charters to an appointed body, sorry make that something
like 30 different appointed bodies.  

This measure has been declared
unconstitutional time and time again, but that never stopped Tallahassee from
trying to kneecap public ed, not that the constitution is really a hallowed
document at this point, it’s more like a list of suggestions written on the
back of a cocktail napkin during happy hour.

From the Tampa Times:

So for
yet another year, they’re proposing legislation to allow other entities to
authorize charters and enter contracts for their operation. The latest comes in
the Florida House, where state Rep. Stan McClain, an Ocala Republican, has
revived a bill (
) that would give
state public colleges and universities the power to approve charter schools…

debate, some of the bill’s drivers including McClain, who also is vice chairman
of PreK-12 Appropriations, suggested the measure would do something other than
allow public colleges and universities to serve as charter authorizers if they

They spoke about the need to improve career training, and the
importance of having colleges and universities create and operate charter
schools that fit with their missions. The bill speaks more broadly, though,
about allowing colleges and universities to sponsor charter schools operated by
others to pursue workforce needs.

At the bottom, though, the supporters focused on one key point:
Making it easier to open charters, in order to give families more choices. They
said public universities, already entrusted with billions in state funds,
seemed a logical choice to expand charter authorization.

“To me the question here isn’t about public vs. private. This is
all public education,” Fischer said. “We’re talking about trusting public
universities. … It comes down to trust.”

Some Democrats on the committee saw it otherwise. Already leery
of charters, they suggested the issue centered on keeping K-12 education within
the realm of elected school boards.

“The school board is elected individuals responsible for
expenditures of public funds,” said Rep. Geraldine Thompson, D-Windermere.
“What is proposed is authorization of charter schools by people who are not
elected and not accountable to the people.”

Um Fischer??? That guy is my rep and nothing
he says should be taken at face value, because the only thing he values is who
gives him campaign cash, and if you guessed most of that comes from charters
you guessed right.

Friends, they may throw some nickels
at public ed teachers this year, but what’s it going to matter if in ten years
there aren’t many public schools left.

I get it, as a teacher, teacher pay is
a huge issue, but the reality is their privatization agenda is more pervasive
and damaging and needs to be stopped both for the future of the profession and
the future of public ed.   

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