How Vouchers Killed Education Accountability for Florida Taxpayers

Writes Scott Maxwell in the Orlando Sentinel:

“The Return of the Living Dead” was a hoot. “Shaun of the Dead” and “Zombieland” perfected the concept of Zom-Coms. And “Warm Bodies” — with its love story between a brain-eater and non-brain-eater — gave us the first truly effective Rom-Zom-Com.

Still, despite all the blood, gore and even zombie dogs I’ve seen in my life, one of the most disturbing zombie scenes I ever witnessed took place just a few weeks ago in Tallahassee.

It was when a rotten school-voucher bill rose from the dead on the last day of session — and, unless stopped, will proceed to suck money (and brains) from our school system.

But the problems with this bill don’t end there. This bill also lacks accountability. It funnels tax money to private schools without assuring kids are actually getting educated.

Heck, just this week a court determined that two South Florida schools were taking voucher money for kids who weren’t even students there.

Yet, legislators now want to double down on this flawed program.

It’s a staggering display of hypocrisy for GOP politicians who constantly yap about “accountability.”

Remember, it has been in the name of “accountability” that politicians have beat public schools senseless with the FCAT.

Schools have cut everything from science and civics classes to art and music — all so they can run the testing drills that lawmakers say is crucial to an education.

Yet now lawmakers want to funnel record amounts of money to private schools without demanding any of testing “accountability” they say is so vital.

Public schools must prove themselves with FCATs. Private schools must not.

On a day the Sentinel released their poll which showed a narrow number of Floridians favor voucher expansion, an administrative judge ruled two Miami charter schools defrauded the state’s McCay scholarship voucher program. The republican-dominated legislature, coupled with former charter school executives now at the Florida Department of Education have  looked away from massive McCay scholarship abuse since it  was discovered in 2011.

Rick’s Scott’s signature on SB 850 will end Florida republican’s claim to being for accountability. Moreover, it will give further reason for critics to assert that their accountability schemes were intended to discredit and destroy public schools.

The first batch of FCAT scores will be released soon. Republicans have made sure Floridian taxpayers will never again know what any state test means anymore.


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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