The Orlando Sentinel’s Dave Weber has a snarky take on the state board’s clear favoritism for charter schools. Writes Weber:
Florida’s state Board of Education is having a love fest for charters schools this week, with board members fanning out around the state to tell charters what a wonderful job they are doing.
But where is our love, officials at traditional schools are asking?
In observance of National Charter Schools Week, members of the state board are heading to various charter schools, according to a news release from the Department of Education.
But it occurred to us, when was the last time we saw a state board member in a traditional public school? At least for our area of the state, we can’t think of one since Phil Handy served on the board some years ago.
We asked DOE to give us some examples of traditional school visits by board members. They couldn’t think of any off the top of their heads either, but are looking into it.
Meanwhile, amidst all of this love for charters, officials for Seminole, Orange and Volusia school districts have the formidable task on Wednesday of convincing the state board to uphold the districts’ decisions to reject some charter school applications. The rejected charters have appealed to the state board, which can – and most often does – override the decisions by the locally elected school boards.
As the state board members are a government entity, it will be useful finding out whose idea it was to put on this barnstorming tour and how it’s going to be paid for. Weber obviously sees through the agenda to generate photo-ops for local newspapers and TV news crews. Their counting on the lap dog media showing up for their flack session, but in many Florida cities, professional journalists have been covering education and will arrive with a skeptical eye and pointed questions.