It is past time for Gary Chartrand to step down.
The Chair of the state board of education, Gary Chartrand a grocer by trade, is arguably the most powerful person in Florida’s education landscape besides Jeb Bush who still casts a very long shadow. He recently said some things in the Florida Times Union, that everyone in Florida should both be aware of and outraged by.
Chartrand said his desire to give his children the best education possible prompted the move (of his children from a public school to a private school) and molded his own views on school options. “That’s exactly what I want other kids to be able to do,"” he said. “I had a choice. I was able to afford it and so my kids were able to go to a private school. … I think it should be available to everybody.”
Chartrand however did not send his kids to the type of private schools that take vouchers. He sent them to the very exclusive and expensive Bolles schools. There they have a thriving arts program, small classes and don’t have to take high stakes tests.
The type of school he sent his children and that Jeb Bush sent his children to as well is nothing compared to the type of schools he is helping to create for the rest of our children.
Chartrand also said, he spent the first six months on the job, getting his “sea legs.” “I wouldn't call myself really well-versed … I have a lot to learn, but I try to apply certain business principles,” This means despite the fact he admits he is woefully unqualified for the position he took it anyways and I would argue he is still not well versed after four years on the board.
If Gary Chartrand truly believes every family should have the same choice that his family had then why isn’t he pushing for every kid to have the same kind of education his children were fortunate enough to receive at the Bolles School? The answer is he must believe what was good enough for his children is too much for all of ours, then throw in a little disdain for labor and a disrespect for public schools too. Chartrand’s term is up and we should demand Governor Scott replace him with a real educator, one who really cares about our children and who has the knowledge and experience to improve things.