Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Florida's Goal to Expand Charter Schools

It doesn't look like the charter school movement is going to slow down anytime soon in Florida. The State Board of Education adopted its five-year plan, which includes a goal of doubling the amount of students in charter schools. Here's an excerpt from the story on the Orlando Sentinel School Zone blog:

The State Board of Education is slated to adopt its five-year strategic plan this morning, a “road map for Florida’s education community that shows where we are, where we want to be, and how we will get there.” 
Among the goals: Expanding school choice, so that by the 2017-18 school year the number of students attending charter schools or using taxpayer-funded scholarships to attend private schools would jump considerably. 
The board’s proposal calls for the number of students enrolling in charter schools to double — with the number of charter schools expanding from 518 to 829 — while the number taking part in the Tax Credit Scholarship program would jump 2.5 times. 
If these gains come to be, they’d represent a significant expansion in the school choice movement in a state that already prides itself  on giving parents “the freedom to choose the educational path that is right for their child.” They’d likely also open the door wider to critics who view these options outside traditional schools as unproven, driven by private, profit-making companies and/or undermining public education.

It's interesting how many of these education "reforms" only focus on getting students out of public schools instead of improving the schools. Expanding the number of unregulated schools that compete against traditional public schools who are beholden to burdensome state mandates will create an unfair, dual education system that will only paint the traditional schools in a negative light. 

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