You can be sure that the state’s charter school cheerleaders at redifinED will be trumpeting this Brookings Institute Report that gives Florida a “C” for “limited choice options.” Why it was just last week that Patrick Gibbons was reporting that the state’s charter high schools were outperforming public schools.
Gibbons bristled when a commenter dared mention that 8 charter schools closed during the year. Neither did he mention that many top Florida high schools are magnet schools which select its students – a practice known as “creaming.” To his credit, Gibbons did recognize that “Florida charter high schools earned higher concentrations of both A and F grades than district schools,” but made excuses for some of them in a comment he left in this blog.
The timing of Gibbon’s post is telling. It was published right before the legislative session to begin.
Just prior to last year’s session in March, two former charter school executives working at the Florida Department of Education published the same sort of report. Both redefinED and mouthpieces from Jeb Bush’s Foundation parroted the study. Top charter school lobbyist Jim Horne frequently touted the study during hearings in support of parent trigger legislation and an effort by charter schools to take over public school facilities at no cost.
One year earlier, Florida TaxWatch released its own pro-charter school study right before the 2012 session. Increased funding was the goal under the guise of “equitable funding” for schools which do not incur the same costs as public schools. It was also the charter school lobby’s first run at parent trigger.
The prize this year is George Moraitis HB 377, which will establish a permanent source of funding for the for-profit charter school industry while setting up a separate board of governance and authorization. Local boards, the state board and the FLDOE will be cut out. Charter schools will only have to deal with and answer to other charter school hacks and apologists who have been appointed by who Moraitis hopes will be Rick Scott and future republican governors.
It’s not a leap to assume that this will further siphon off funding from public schools where it will end up in the pocket of guy like Charter Schools USA boss Jonathan Hage. A recent campaign contribution for $50,000 from Hage to Scott’s Lets Get to Work PAC serves as a teachable moment of just how corrupt the for-profit charter school industry has become.