Wow. Looks like Maitland republican Senator David Simmons didn’t get the memo. From Leslie Postal writing in Sentinel School Zone:
At a Florida Senate committee meeting last week, Sen. David Simmons made it clear he was worried about charter schools that opened and then later closed.
“When we see the failure of a charter school, it sullies the name of all charter schools and the movement itself,” said the Maitland Republican.
Simmons said he worried that money spent on these failed charters was money wasted. He mentioned it several times during a meeting of the Senate’s budget subcommittee on Pre-k-12 education.
“The finanical impact is great,” he said. “Some of them are failing, and that’s a financial issue…Those that are failing are costing not only a human toll but a financial one.”
As chairman of that Senate appropriations panel, Simmons has a key role in the education budget, which he said faces “significant challenges” again this year.
There are 519 charter schools operating this year, state figures show. Applications for 348 more were filed this year.
These publicly funded but independently run schools have strong support from Florida’s Republican leadership. Like other advocates, they say charters provide more choices for parents and can showcase innovative educational ideas.
Underscoring that message: Florida Education Commissioner Gerard Robinson will take part tomorrow in the opening session of the National Association of Charter School Authorizers conference on Amelia Island.
Maybe that’s what made Simmons repeated mention of “charter schools that fail” so interesting.
Simmons is obviously aware that 15 of 31 “F” schools last year were charter schools. It’s fascinating to see a republican point this out. But its not the first time that Simons has wandered off the reservation. In July, Simmons called for a special session to restore education funding levels.