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Sunday, August 14, 2011

Florida gets it wrong on school reform

Studies show vouchers, charter schools and merit pay don't work. The jury is out on virtual schools but there is a lot of less than positive anecdotal evidence, which gives many pause. So what does Scott do, increase vouchers, sign an ufunded merit pay bill and channel millions into charter schools. Virtual schools are also on the rise.

The only reform implemented in Florida with evidence backing it up is class size and this was done so by the people of Florida not its leaders, which during the recent legislative session was butchered.

Florida is in big trouble.

1 comment:

  1. As a retired Florida teacher, I agree wholeheartedly with this article. Merit pay was a joke as I applied for it several years. The year I did best did not win merit pay. Two years later, I applied again, and was granted merit pay, and it was a terrible year. It made no sense. Charter Schools are for profit, they also cherry pick students, even though they claim they don't. Ask how many charter schools in the Jax area are no longer in business. They suffer from poor management, and administrators who know nothing about running a school. Vouchers may be another story. If I was a parent of an academic star, I certainly would not want my student attending many of the high schools in the Jacksonville area. The Virtual schools are also for profit. I talked to students who found some of their virtual teachers uninterested and unreachable when the student had a problem. I keep hearing we should run a school like a business, but that is impossible. A business has a profit and loss sheet, and all we are dealing with is money. What does a school's P&L look like? The loss is the academic education of a student. There is always room for improvement, but in the 38 years I spent in the school systems of north Florida, we never gave a program a chance before we either; 1) didn't have the money to continue it 2) didn't keep it around long enough to see if it worked 3) changed methods and curriculum so often that even the teachers weren't sure of what was going on or 4) used programs with so many acronyms we needed a dictionary to comprehend their meaning. Throwing more money at education isn't the answer, but neither is the beloved school grading system introduced by former Governor Jeb Bush. That simply took the fun out of teaching and turned the teachers into robots. Then we wonder why the students are bored??? What we have done in education is similar to the endless fund raisers schools host every year. We feed the students candy and blow their blood sugar through the roof, and then demand that they sit down, be still and pay attention to a class lecture.