Florida Charter School Scheme Unmasked in Standard Contract Bid

Rep. Manny Diaz (R-Miami) went first in the House Education Committee yesterday and announced a “postponement” of HB 7083. Among other things, Diaz bill provided for standard charter school contracts, the mandatory sharing of public school buildings and would further ease restrictions for so-called “high-performing charter schools.”

What happened?

Miami Herald reporter Kathleen McGrory may have the explanation:

On Monday, the Senate Education Committee gutted the proposal aimed at creating a more favorable environment for new charter schools. Days earlier, Sen. Bill Galvano withdrew his bill to expand the school voucher program.

Senate Education Committee chairman John Legg said the upper chamber is not opposed to school choice. But he and other senators want to take a “rational approach to education policy,” he said.

The charter school proposal, for instance, was “an overreach,” he said.

“It is not something that all charter schools want,” Legg said of a provision requiring school districts and charter schools to use a standardized contract.

What? All charter schools didn’t want a standard contract? Legg would be an authority on the topic as he is a founder of what’s been considered to be a very good charter school in Pasco County. But then again, the establishment of Legg’s Daysprings Academy is much closer to  what the original intention of charter schools were to be in the first place. It’s the metaphorical “mom and pop,” and not the big corporate charter school chain for which Diaz is employed.

Legg’s smackdown of Diaz’ bill is clear evidence that the big charter chains like the one Diaz works for in Academica and Charter Schools USA were the one’s who wanted standard contracts. Not those like the one Legg started.

Diaz and perhaps some other republican legislators aren’t off the hook for using a charter school task force run by the school lobby to affect legislation. The Consortium of Florida Charter Schools effort was in no way affiliated with the legislature, the FLDOE or under the commitment to state Sunshine Laws. This may have contributed to Diaz’ sudden decision to postpone his bill.

Scathing Purple Musings opined in January that combined with provisions which loosened the strings on what determines a high-performing charter school, the standard contract proposal was another ruse to dodge accountability. Moreover, Diaz bill is unmasked as  the latest attempt at “stockpiling charters” for the rich charter school operators who donate heavily to the pols who sponsor them.

UPDATE: From Florida Current reporter Arel Sarkessian:

Rep. Manny Diaz, R-Hialeah, said his plate already was full with other bills and he did not have the time to closely review the amendments filed on Wednesday. The House Education Committee is the last stop for HB 7083 and Diaz wanted to make sure it was ready for the chamber.

“I wanted to make sure I didn’t have to make those amendments on the floor,” Diaz said.




About Bob Sikes

A long time ago and a planet far, far away I was an athletic trainer for the New York Mets. I was blessed to be part of the now legendary 1986 World Series Championship. My late father told me that I'd one day be thankful I had that degree in teaching from Florida State University. He was right and I became twice blesses to become a teacher in the late 1990's. After dabbling with writing about the Mets and then politics, I settled on education.
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