First a refresher. Amendment 8 is a Frankenstein proposal, that pairs to nominally popular ideas, term limits on school board members and civic education with a third idea, taking charter school approval out of the hands of local school boards, that on its own would not have much of a chance of passing.
First I should say, we already have a middle school civics requirement and localities can already choose to have term limits on school boards, as Duval has shown.
So who is funding the pushing of the amendment? Charter schools and foreign investors of course.
From News for Jax:
Companies with ties to charter schools and a controversial federal visa program are providing the bulk of contributions to an effort to pass a constitutional amendment that would impose an eight-year term limit on school board members.
Through June, the 8isGreat.org political committee has raised $54,532 in support of Amendment 8, state election records show.
Nearly three-quarters of the money raised by the 8isGreat group has come from companies involved with charter schools.
Red Apple Development, a Fort Lauderdale company that has helped develop more than three dozen charter school projects in Florida, donated $10,000 to the amendment effort.
GreenAccess, a Jupiter company also involved in more than three dozen charter schools in Florida, donated $15,000.
Florida Overseas Investment Center, a Sarasota company, also made a $15,000 contribution to the amendment campaign, records show.
GreenAccess and Florida Overseas Investment are both involved in the EB-5 investor visa program, which provides a path to U.S. residency for wealthy foreign immigrants.
Under the program, the foreign investors can obtain a “green card” for themselves and their families if they provide at least $500,000 for projects, such as schools, that are tied to job creation.
Critics have said the visa program is loosely regulated, while supporters have defended it as a way to direct investments and jobs to under-served communities.
Friends what can I say, neither foreign investors of charter school operators care about our children, they just see an opportunity to make a buck. That is not who we should be siding with, when our children’s futures hang in the balance.
The League of Women voters fortunately has stepped up and is suing to get this monstrosity thrown out.
From Florida Politics:
Calling it “affirmatively misleading,” the League of Women Voters of Florida is seeking to have a proposed constitutional amendment on education tossed off the ballot.
At issue is a section that would let organizers of charter schools avoid having to get an OK from local school boards to open.
Voters “will not recognize that the real purpose of the amendment is to allow unaccountable political appointees to control where and when charter schools can be established in their county,” she said.
“We know that Floridians overwhelmingly support the constitutional requirement to make adequate provision for the education of all children that is ‘uniform, efficient, safe, secure and high quality.’ We are asking the court to ensure that voters aren’t tricked into eliminating those protections.”
8 is bad both for democracy and our children and if not thrown out it should be voted down.