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In Florida, it's listen to the parents, unless they are public school parents.

Whether you call it a juxtapositions, cognitive dissonance or just a plain pathological hatred of public schools it's all the same as Tallahassee and Governor Scott lost all credibility when he signed SB 805 expanding vouchers into law.

First lets forget how vouchers obliterate the first amendment as 90 percent go to religious schools, they don't have to have recognized curriculums, certified teachers, despite being able to pick who they take and keep don't perform better than public schools and Slate magazine reports over 150 teach creationism as science. Instead lets just look at how Scott and the republican legislature twisted themselves into knots to approve it.

He and the republican legislature have said they are for both common core (though now they are calling it the Florida Standards) and for accountability, unless that is your child goes to a private school that accepts vouchers because those kids are exempt from both.

They say they want to save poor and mostly minority children from attending failing public schools, ironic because they have refused to put measures in place to see if the private school the student would go to is failing or not but they also have dramatically cut funding to Bright Futures which the federal government says will disproportionately hurt poor and mostly minority students. This makes me think they are more interested in hurting public schools than helping poor and mostly minority children.

Then they say they need to listen to the parents of children who take vouchers which admittedly may number in the tens of thousands but then at the same tome they feel it is okay to ignore the millions of parents in the Parent Teacher Association the NAACP, the teachers’ unions, and the League of United Latin American Citizens who all asked the governor to veto the bill. Sadly they have been ignoring these groups for years as they have called for an end to the reliance on high stakes testing and for Tallahassee to adequately fund public education as well.

Finally voucher expansion means giving more money to Step up for Students which admitted they keep the numbers on their waiting list on the back of an envelope and who has given public money to legislators in an effort to get even more public money. Why isn't this organization under investigation or indictment?

I believe vouchers aren't here to help children, instead they are part of a plan to systematically knee cap public schools, something if the education reformers/voucher proponents tried to do in well fell swoop people would rally against. Instead they are doing it piecemeal hoping public schools will die the death of a thousand cuts before anybody really notices. Regardless, without accountability measures, vouchers are a bad deal and I hope the public remembers it come November.


 

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