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Sunday, April 20, 2014

Duval could stop the proliferation of charter schools with two simple rules.

Even as big a critic of charter schools as I am I believe they have a limited role to play as a supplement to public schools. Unfortunately the powers-that-be, despite dubious quality and the fact the only thing they seem to do really well is put money in the pockets of their owners, have set them up to replace public schools.

Jacksonville which has seen the amount of charter schools double over the last few years could stem the tide and protect students and families too, with just two simple rules.

The first rule is more than half of the managing board of charter schools should be from Jacksonville, this is a similar rule that many counties have an enforce. The whole concept of charter schools was parent driven laboratories of reform, not mercenaries looking for profit centers. This would make sure that there was at least some local involvement.

Next charter schools should not be allowed to expand whether grades or sister schools until they have earned at least two consecutive C grades, another rule some districts have. That way we know at the very least there are minimum standards being met.

Is that asking a lot, half the board being locals and at least an average grade before expanding? Some charter school outfits might think so because if those two rules were in place we would have a lot less than the 31 charter schools that we have now.  

Notice I am not asking that the charter school serve a need, sink up with strategic plan or be innovative, something charter schools are supposed to do/be already but have been allowed to get a pass on.

The school board has said they want to push back against charter schools and adopting these two reasonable rules would allow them to do it.

Unfortunately reasonable and school board are not words that often go together. 

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