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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Florida DOE picks winners and losers, you guessed it, public schools are the losers

From Scathing Purple Musings

by Bob Sykes

From Topher Sanders of the Florida Times-Union:

The state and a nonprofit venture capital fund are teaming up to offer the largest pot of money ever in Florida to increased the number of high-performing charter schools.

The $30 million fund will help to start 30 charter schools over five years. The schools will serve about 15,000 students in the state.

Florida’s education department is putting up $20 million and the Florida Charter School Growth Fund is kicking in another $10 million.

The awards will go to schools organizations that already operate high-performing charter schools in underserved communities. Award candidates will have to go through a rigorous application process focused on academic achievement, growth and financial sustainability.

Talk about brazenly picking winners and losers.

The Florida Charter School Growth Fund is a subsidiary of the Charter School Growth Fund. Among original founders are Bill and Melinda Gates, the Walton family and Eli Broad. Previous benefactors include KIPP schools which already a foothold in the state.

Is it ethical for Florida’s department of education to essentially provide start-up costs like this? And especially when considered in a time funding for public schools is being slashed? And with the merit pay provision of SB736 not even being funded.

Ed commissioner Gerard Robinson will most certainly face scrutiny for this. He doesn’t seem to be attempting to hide his favoritism for charter schools anymore. Where the DOE was able to come up with this amount of money will need to be answered.

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