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Saturday, May 23, 2015

The two faces of Gary Chartrand

If you don't know Chartrand is the Jacksonville Grocer who parlayed campaign support to Rick Scott into a spot on the state bard of education. He is actively trying to privatize our schools and has often showed open disdain towards teachers.

He has also called for the state legislature to Pass Rick Scott's education budget.

From the Times Union:

Education has always been a passion of mine. And as a Florida taxpayer and parent, I applaud Gov. Rick Scott for proposing historic per-pupil funding in his “Keep Florida Working” budget.
The Florida Legislature will soon start a special session to develop the state’s 2015-2016 budget, and I implore them to make our state’s students a priority.

Florida is one of the largest states in the nation with 2.7 million students in more than 4,200 K-12 public schools, and I know that some of the best and brightest minds are sitting in classrooms throughout the state.

Unfortunately, I also know that without adequate support, many of these students will not reach their full potential or even set academic and career goals.

Educators, as well as school and district staff, can make all the difference in the life of a struggling student, but they must have the necessary resources.

Technological advances have given educators the ability to teach students in a way never before possible and have also created entire industries that expand career options for our students.
It is critical that we take this chance, while we have a budget surplus, to invest in our state’s education so that when our students graduate they are valuable assets to our workforce.

I am optimistic that our students’ tremendous success in recent years — which includes ranking seventh in the nation for student achievement with an all-time high graduation rate — will be evidence enough for the Florida Legislature to allocate record per-pupil funding.

Sounds great right? What can I complain about?  Well the truth is a lot.

First Rick Scott's budget is far from historic, it is an increase true but it does not match 2007's budget and furthermore how can any budget be thought of as historic as long as the three percent pay cut teachers took during the great recession is still in effect. Later he talks abut a budget surplus, a surplus which was built on the backs of teachers.

He also he talks about educators. These are the same people he gleefully helped strip of work protections. Every teacher hired since 2011 is an at will employee and can be fired at the end of the school year for any reason, or none as none has to be given. Gary Chartrand has zero concern for teachers and how can you really care about kids while at the same time hating those people charged with educating them?

Then he talks about taking a chance on technology.  Chartrand's entire education philosophy is based on taking chances, very few of which have paid off, Take a chance on charter schools well over 280 in Florida have failed. take a chance on vouchers, well they have practically zero accountability, both academically and financially and nobody truly knows how they are doing. But hey, lets roll the dice, its not his kids that will pay the price if it comes up snake eyes.    

Finally he talks about student achievement and graduation rates. Florida's teachers, despite the many obstacles put in their path and the state treating poverty like it is an excuse rather than the number one factor in student achievement, by Chartrand and Tallahassee are doing an amazing job. He got that part right but since that is the case, why is he one of the leading figures in the push to privatize our schools. If he thinks Florida is doing a great job, then why is he trying to outsource our kids futures to mercenaries, charlatans, and barely regulated private schools? Is he a crazy person or is he talking out of both sides of his mouth?

Chartand has what I believe is a pathological need to be liked and where it is true he has donated a lot of money to several worthy causes, at the end of the day he is not the hero of the story he is the villain.

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