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Saturday, February 2, 2019

DeSantis admits Florida was wrong about CC but the state is even more wrong about school choice

Governor DeSantis to much fanfare issued an executive order ending common core. I am probably not the only one who thinks maybe he has gotten a little to much credit, after all it's going to be at least a two year process and he left a lot more questions than answers.

The thing is and I hope nobody missed this, but when DeSantis said no more to common core, he admitted the state had made a huge mistake in initiating it which means we have wasted tens of millions and put children in a curriculum that wasn't the best one for them. That has to be tough pill for a lot of parents and tax payers to swallow, but the things is, the state has wasted even more money and harmed even more children with school choice, sorry make that school privatization.

Before I get excoriated by the privatization crowd let me say, the concept of charters as teacher and parent driven laboratories of innovation is an attractive one. Unfortunately that's not what we have here in Florida, and instead we have for profit centers that are bereft of innovation.

Furthermore I think if a private school offers a program, a non religious program, that a parent thinks would benefit their child that the public school system doesn't then I think vouchers would be appropriate but that's not what we have either. Instead we have parents sending their children to religious schools obliterating the separation of church and state and to non gov'ment schools, because parents have been convinced through a concentrated public relations effort to diminish  our schools and convince people that our public schools are no good.

Also I will freely admit there are some charters and I believe some private schools though since they lack accountability that it is hard to tell, that do it right, but I also believe those schools would be in the minority.

Let's talk about charters.

339 have opened and closed wasting tens of millions of dollars and leaving children and neighborhoods in the lurch.

Most offer little in the way of innovation.

They take fewer ESOL and ESE children and council out poor performers and children with behavior problems.

Most of the ones that are doing well have set up in neighborhoods with great schools already siphoning away resources from those schools.

Furthermore most are set up and run by for profit companies, that are making their owners rich. 

Then what I find most objectionable of all is the vast amount of charter legislation that has been pushed through has been done so by legislators who either have direct or close ties to the charter industry or who take money from them. This debases us all.

Why do we have charters again? There should be a better reason than to make some legislators, their family members and their donors rich.

Lets talk about schools that take vouchers.

They now divert  over 150 million dollars annually from the state coffers.

Their teachers don't have to be certified or even have degrees.

Many teach junk science and junk history and don't have a recognized curriculum.

They take public money but they are exempt from the state test that Tallahassee says is so important for public schools.

Most don't even have to report how they spent the money they receive.

They have so little accountability you might as well say they have none. Um shouldn't we know how that money is being spent and if its a good deal or not?

Why don't we address those issues??? Charters and vouchers are what is choking the life out of public schools.

A few weeks ago, DeSantis said he wanted to open up even more money for vouchers, not hey lets make sure schools that receive money for vouchers are doing a good job.

DeSantis is right, we should be doing better than common core but as problems go that is way behind the war on teachers, the lack of funding schools receive, the punitive accountability system that Florida employs and the biggest of all, school choice. 

We have problems in Florida but the biggest one is an out of control privatization agenda and that is what should be stopped.   


  1. Thank you for always stating the truth. Getting rid of Common Core is only the tip of the iceberg of what is wrong in Florida. The idea of nation-wide standards was a good one on the surface, but it morphed into a monster. The fact that the state government is handing money to charter schools while requiring no accountability and no repayment of funds if the schools are closed is patently absurd.

  2. Could you lead me to a more detailed article as to why common core was bad? As the commentor said, it seems to me that "the idea of nation-wide standards was a good one."

  3. I don't normally comment on articles, but I have to on this one. Your article is very well-written with a lot of useful, original and bold views on this topic.