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Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Charter School advocates want zero restrictions.

Sen. Jeff Clemens, D-Lake Worth, filed senate bill 452 last week which would require charter schools to meet a specific instructional need that local district schools can’t in order to obtain approval.

 “I think charter schools are there to serve the needs that the (traditional) public school system can’t,’’ Clemens told The Florida Current. “If they’re just going to do the same thing that we’re doing in public schools then I think it is a poor use of our tax resources.’’

Seems pretty reasonable to me seeing how hundreds of Charter schools have opened and close in Florida including about a half dozen since this school year began and districts often complain charter schools both lack innovation (the whole premise behind charter schools) and often run counter to their strategic plans. In my home town an under enrolled high school now has two new charter high schools within three miles of it.  

And despite all this, not surprisingly asking for reasonable restrictions has charter school supports in a tizy.

From Redefined Ed: Not surprisingly, his bill drew criticism from charter school supporters, including Jim Horne, a former Florida legislator and education commissioner who lobbies for Charter Schools USA.
“It is interesting now after 18 years of Florida charter schools when we have statistical data that clearly shows that Florida charter schools are outperforming district managed schools in most grade levels and gaining increasing market share that suddenly we see legislation that is aimed at severely limiting the growth of charter schools,’’ Horne said in an email. “In other words, if you can’t compete with them then let’s just stop them from opening in the first place.”

Where do I start, well first there is no clear statistical data that says charters as a group, despite numerous advantages, are performing any better, though with almost 250 having closed over the years you would expect the group to improve somewhat. Then just yesterday Doug Tuthill from step up for Students the group that is paid millions in public money to manage Florida’s voucher program that districts should not compete with charter schools and vouchers. Most charter school advocates aren’t interested in playing fair nor are they interested in doing what’s best for children. They just want to see them spread unchecked and damn the consequences.I wonder if there were any restriction despite repeated failure they would find reasonable.

I am not a charter school guy but even I think they have a limited role to replace as a supplement to our public schools, not the replacements for that many who by the way are also profiting off of them think they should be. Furthermore there are so many bad Charter schools that the entire industry gets one black eye after another when they close or continuously do poorly. Even charter school advocates should want reasonable restrictions because they protect the good charter schools from the cadre of people operating them just to make a buck.

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