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Friday, December 26, 2014

Florida districts pushing back against charter schools: it's still not enough.

The Sun Sentinel, behind a pay wall, when did news just become for the well off, did a piece on how more and more Florida districts are rejecting charter school applications that don't have air tight financing. Where long over due when you consider that over 260 have open taken public money and failed over the last few years, it's not nearly enough.

More and more charter schools, usually part of for profit chains have changed their business models. Ditching innovation, they have started opening schools in affluent neighborhoods. In my home town of Jacksonville we have approved charter schools down the street form A schools and this despite our superintendent publicly lamenting the loss of resources. I believe privately he doesn't care.

The concept of charters is an attractive one, parent/teacher driven laboratories of innovation. The reality is many have become for profit schools that care first about the bottom line, that don't offer anything approaching innovation and that as a group perform worse.

Opening up a charter school should be more difficult than filling out boxes on an application and having bought off a few politicians. They should at the very least offer something the surrounding schools are not. They should have local teachers and parents collaborating together to develop programs rather than using the regurgitated programs presented by chains and I don't believe they should be for profit. All the resources available should be put into the schools not into some far off connected business man's bank account.

The idea of charter schools has a place, a role to play as a supplement to public education where the reality of what they have become should be regulated to the dist bin of bad ideas.

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