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Thursday, May 15, 2014

School choice advocates depend on fairy dust to sell their point.

Yet another pro choice public school hater had a letter published in the Times Union. His top selling point seems to be he visited a private school campus and he really, really liked it.  
I found it ironic that Tim Turner started his rant about vouchers talking about reasonable conclusions because what he wants us to do is take a leap of faith.
First the end of the argument about vouchers should be their proponents were basically offered the key to the treasury if the would just accept legitimate accountability measures. But instead of taking hundreds of millions of dollars to help the students they say both desperately need it and are clamoring for it they fought accountability tooth and nail. The fact that the people that want them the most don’t think schools that take them can stand up to scrutiny should tell you all you need to know.
You can just forget the schools don’t have to have certified teachers or even teachers with degrees, recognized curriculums and can teach subjects like creationism as science, forget all that and the fact it violates the first amendment because them saying no to accountability speaks volumes and should tell you all you need to know.
As for charter schools Mr. Turner doesn’t care that if you attend one you are five times more likely to be attending a failing school and that the Stanford Credo, the definitive charter school study says kids as a group attending Florida’s charters are lagging behind their public school counterparts and I doubt he wants you to know that over 250 charter schools have opened in Florida, taken public money and then failed leaving kids and communities in a lurch. Instead he would steer kids to charter schools like the ones at Baymeadows.
Let me tell you about the owner of that school, Jonathan Hage. He operates just 58 schools but is able to live in a 1.8 million dollar house, sends his children to an expensive private school and a conservative estimate of his salary is 3.4 million dollars. By comparison superintendent Vitti runs 161 schools, makes 275 thousand and sends his children to public schools. I don’t know how much his house is worth and where I am sure it is nice I would guess it is worth less than 1.8 million dollars. Hage also owns a 350 thousand dollar 43 foot yacht, which he named Fishin-4-Schools. An ironic name if there ever was one and yes the Charter School at Baymeadows may be doing well, but many of Hage’s other schools including the one at Regency aren’t.

Choice with is a euphemism for privatization in Florida is a bad choice especially in this era of lax regulations that are seeing charlatans and mercenaries setting up shop on every corner they can.

Finally to address his third assertion about money, I actually agree money will not cure all the problems in public education but make no mistake there are needs-a-plenty going unmet because the resources aren’t there. We need good leadership and a well-rounded curriculum too. Unfortunately most of the problems in education in Florida come from the pro-choice leadership that Florida has had for the last 15 years. They have manufactured a crisis and are now seeking to profit off of it. Turner may be okay with that but many of us are not. 

To read his piece click the link:

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