Florida has been going through a time of educational trauma, but this is not the time to make wide-spread changes that hurt public education. When so many laws are passed at one time that favor charter schools over public schools, a situation will be created affecting both that will spin out of
control. Our children will be hurt.
Bills that are speeding through Congress include Florida SB 1852, Charter Schools, and HB 903 which authorizes charter schools to increase student enrollment, expand grade levels, submit quarterly financial statements and consolidate charters and their terms. It also authorizes district school boards to share revenue raised for education on a student pro-rata basis with charter schools. If they don’t, money given to districts will be re-evaluated. Federal money will be authorized to go directly to charter
schools. While public charter schools already receive district funds, this bill will take away any local accountability. It also will force funding for private, for-profit charter schools.
Unfortunately, SB 242 is requiring the Office of Public Policy Analysis and Government Accountability to determine the minimum per-student funding to meet consititutional requirements. Many districts are already
struggling. This will make it worse.
Additionally, this bill is very similar to the bill (SB 1546, HB 7195) signed by the governor on Oct. 28, 2011 that said similar things, but did not go as far.
Also, under SB 1522, Accountability in Public Schools, high school charter schools, that take a common end of course exam, are not required to take statewide comprehensive assessments. The heavy financial burden of FCAT, costing in the millions, which falls upon all public schools, will not be born by charters.
Educational fads have also achieved popularity for a short time, and then found, after research, not to be nearly as effective as what they replaced. Before Public Education is hurt, please look at the research on charter schools, the failure rates and who is actually receiving benefits
from these schools. If charter schools hurt part of the school population, eventually all people are hurt.