Wednesday, March 25, 2015
The true aim of Florida's school choice agenda.
If you haven’t been paying attention you might not know that the Florida legislature is about to require counties to educate children whose families not only don’t pay taxes in them but don’t live in them either. Representative Manny Diaz, R-Hialeah, employed some pretty irresponsible rhetoric when trying to sell the bill.
“There should be no hesitation in allowing a student who has not been provided the right opportunity in whatever arbitrary, designated county they live in to be able to cross that line and get a better opportunity. I will tell you that if that school district and that school that that student is supposed to be zoned for is doing their job and providing them the best opportunity, the parent’s not going to be looking for another one.
This begs the question, if next will the legislature require fire, health and police departments to serve people in other counties who might prefer them too? County lines really aren’t arbitrary, they say the people in them will take responsibility for what happens. Now some do a better job than others but should we be burdening them or letting the other counties off the hook? Diaz obviously thinks we should.
Then there are literally dozens of arbitrary reasons a parent might want to move their kids to a different school that don’t have to do with academics. If a parent doesn’t want their child around minorities, poor children or thinks the sports department might be better at a different school now Diaz is empowering them to move.
Also what poor or middle class family can afford to drive their student across the county line day after day? The answer is none which means this will further segregate our schools draining precious resources from the schools that can afford to lose them the least. This will further segregate our schools into have and have nots.
What gets me the most is Diaz is saying schools are failing when they are not. Schools have been saddled with poor leadership from Tallahassee that serves special interests like charter schools (who Diaz works for in his day job), vouchers, and Jeb Bush’s political aims rather than the states parents, teachers and students. How many schools and districts that have been chronically underfunded and burdened with poor standards (common core) does Diaz think are not doing their job? My bet it is exclusively the ones in the poor neighborhoods who don’t do well on standardized tests because to the republicans in Tallahassee that not addressing the problems that come with poverty is all that matters.
Public education is supposed to be like a rope. Lots of strands twisted together makes it strong. When the strands are frayed away the rope weakens and weakens until it breaks and that, the breaking of public education, not helping children is the true aim of Diaz and the school choice agenda.