Look How Easily a Take on Charter Schools From New Zealand Models Florida

From New Zealand online news aggregate Voxy.co.nz:

In the USA, scandal after scandal has swept charter schools: poor teaching, poor facilities, financial scams, corruption, profiteering, abrupt closures of failed schools, political patronage, abuse…. Almost everything that could go wrong in these schools has done so, often over and over again. QPEC has been tracking US charter schools daily for over two years ago now, and not only are many of them an educational disgrace but they continue to contribute to the overall educational collapse of the USA in world educational rankings. Per dollar spent, US schools are the world’s worst.

Let’s dispatch with the assertion that there’s an “overall educational collapse of the USA in world educational rankings.” In few other realms in which the cynical retort “there are lies, damned lies and the there are statistics,” more appropriate than it is in the education reformist world. Nationally recognized mouthpieces like to point to U.S. world rankings as a wake-up call for the nation which begs for their charter school, high-stakes testing and techno prescription for the nation. So seductive is their argument that it draws in former secretaries of state like Condi Rice as if she’s been waterboarded into declaring that the condition of the nation’s education apparatus is so dire that it’s a national security issue. Meanwhile these same reformers point to places like Florida where their ideas have proved to be a delicious cocktail.

But our Kiwi friends are spot on about charter schools. No better example exists of “financial scams, corruption, profiteering, and political patronage” that it does in Florida. Lets just consider three events of the past 6 months:

I. Fresh off another significant investment into assuring continued “political patronage” by donating heavily to state republicans – including a whopping $50,000 to Rick Scotts PAC, Charter Schools USA boss Jonathan Hage learned he “qualified for $365,000 in public incentives” for expanding his headquarters.

II. Brushing aside his own failing record of support for charter schools, Rick Scott proposed $100 million of taxpayer money for  “improving facilities in charter schools across the state.”

III. Miami representative Manny Diaz, a well-compensated employee of Florida’s second largest for-profit charter school outfit, Academica, has filed another charter school-friendly bill. He did so last year as well.

And so it goes in Florida.


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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