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Thursday, September 22, 2011

Republican insiders form group to promote charter schools

From the St. Petersburg Times Gradebook

by Jeff Solochek

A newly formed group calling itself the Florida Charter School Alliance has begun shopping itself as the "go-to site" for all things charter in the state of Florida.

CEO Cheri Shannon, formerly of the Missouri Charter School Association, writes on the group's web site (which is still a single page) that she expects FCSA to "play an important role in this movement and be a key partner with other groups" in working toward "providing increased autonomy, funding equity and accountability for charter schools."

No doubt. Just take a look at who's on the organization's board, and you'll see they already have a major say anyway. They include former Florida education commissioner Jim Horne, Florida corporate tax credit scholarship program founder John Kirtley and Jeb Bush's education foundation executive director Patricia Levesque.

Group spokeswoman Julie Franciosi tells the Gradebook that the FCSA got its start-up funding from the Walton Family Foundation, which advocates for more school choices, and that it aims to be member-driven over time. "The main priority of Florida Charter School Alliance this year is to fight for equitable funding for charter school students," she wrote in an email.

Anyone want to guess how successful they'll be?

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