Thursday, March 28, 2013

Tampa Bay Times Editorial Skeptical about Charter Grab

The Tampa Bay Times recently published an editorial telling the Florida Legislature to slow down on its plan to expand charter schools and their perks. These initiatives include limiting enrollment caps, providing the schools with extra funding for construction, and allowing them to take over vacant public school property at essentially no cost. This is in addition to the "Parent Trigger" or "Parent Empowerment" bill that is making its way through the legislative process, whose ultimate goal is to turn "failing" public schools into charter schools.  Given that half of the state's F grades were awarded to charter schools, I don't see an option to turn over failing charter schools to the districts. In a time when traditional public schools are struggling to implement the state's ever increasing demands with decreasing resources, the Florida Legislature seems to be moving ahead to expand charter school options while those schools are exempt from many of the regulations imposed on traditional schools. 

Charter schools were initially designed to be laboratory schools of sorts, providing teachers with the freedom to discover ways of educating difficult students. I don't know exactly when it happened, but the charter school movement was hijacked and they are now placing themselves in direct competition with the very schools they were originally designed to help. 

Many public school teachers and officials echo the concerns expressed by the Tampa Bay Times.


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