Saturday, July 22, 2017

Florida’s education system — the one Betsy DeVos cites as a model — is in chaos - The Washington Post

Florida’s education system — the one Betsy DeVos cites as a model — is in chaos - The Washington Post:

Florida’s education system — the one Betsy DeVos cites as a model — is in chaos



The K-12 education system in Florida — the one that Education Secretary Betsy DeVos likes to praise as a model for the nation — is in chaos.
Traditional public school districts are trying to absorb the loss of millions of dollars for the new school year that starts within weeks. That money, which comes from local property taxes, is used for capital funding but now must be shared with charter schools as a result of a widely criticized $419 million K-12 public education bill crafted by Republican legislative leaders in secret and recently signed into law by Gov. Rick Scott — at a Catholic school.
Critics, including some Republicans, say the law will harm traditional public schools, threaten services for students who live in poverty and curb local control of education while promoting charter schools and a state-funded voucher program.
The law creates a “Schools of Hope” system that will turn failing traditional public schools into charter schools that are privately run but publicly funded. The law also sets out the requirement for districts to share capital funding.
The man behind the Schools of Hope initiative was Republican House Speaker Richard Corcoran, whose wife just happened to have founded a charter school in Pasco County. But as this recent Miami Herald opinion piece notes, a number of Republican lawmakers in the state legislature have financial stakes in the charter industry.  “Florida’s broad ethics laws are a joke,” wrote Herald columnist Fabiola Santiago.
At a recent meeting of the Florida Board of Education, superintendents warned that the new fund-sharing requirement puts their school buildings at risk. Miami-Dade Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho was quoted by WTVY as saying: “You really could see the potential unraveling of long-term maintenance and construction for public school systems across the state. It is not a good indicator when one of the two largest credit rating agencies declares a negative condition for school systems on the basis of a policy statement out of Tallahassee.” That’s a reference to a report issued in June from Moody’s saying that the fund diversion “is credit negative for school districts with significant charter enrollment,” suggesting Florida’s education system — the one Betsy DeVos cites as a model — is in chaos - The Washington Post:

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