From Matt Dixon of Florida Times-Union:
A new lobbying group for charter schools officially launched on Monday. With support from the Walton Family Foundation, the Florida Charter School Alliance will advocate for policies that benefit charter schools.
The alliance notes that there are over 500 charter schools in the state and demand for new charter schools increases ever year. The formation of this group is further evidence of the increasing political potency of charters and the divisions between them and traditional public schools.
The press release announcing the launch says the group will “work to bring high-quality charter schools to all communities in Florida” and “actively advocate for the equitable treatment and funding of all public school students.” There is another charter school advocacy group in Florida called the Florida Consortium of Public Charter Schools, established in 1999.
That group focuses on promoting the “establishment and operation” of public charter schools and provides online training and professional development, as well as lobbies on behalf of charters.
Why Florida’s charter schools needed another lobby is beyond me. The Florida Consortium of Charter Schools has its former top lobbyist heading up an agency within the Department of Education now. Michael Kooi heads the Office of Independent Education and Parental Choice. Kooi serves more like an advocate for charter schools than he does as someone who’s protecting the interests of Florida’s families and students. At any rate, a second firm flacking for charter schools makes it that much harder for school districts to turn aside unwanted charter schools.