Miami Demorat Representative Kionne L. McGhee didn’t let Florida charter school lobbyist Jim Horne off the hook during this week’s public testimony on the Florida House’s latest charter school bill. Horne, whom sources say wrote the bill, made the claim that there are 80,000 children on charter school’s waiting lists.
(The exchange begins around the 30 minute mark of the February 6, 2013 archive found here)
When McGhee inquired about the numbers, Horne quickly began back-pedaling with vague responses. Sensing Horne’s evasions, he asked two more questions about the numbers forcing FLDOE’s Michael Kooi to the podium to sheepishly admit the numbers were coming from the charter schools. Miami Dade official Iraida Mendez-Cartaya followed Kooi with testimony pointing out that in her district, students are likely to appear on more than one waiting list – an obvious reason for such inflated numbers.
The moment had to be an embarrassing one for Horne, a former state commissioner of education. It was clear he knew the numbers wouldn’t stand up to scrutiny. But the brief exchange again showed charter school’s high paid mouthpieces will say anything.