When republican politicians in Tallahassee talk about school choice what they are really talking about is privatization and the dismantling of public education.
What they never mention however is the cost and how hundreds of millions of dollars are directed away from public schools to options that quite frankly don’t deserve a dime of public money because they either don’t have any accountability or waste so much of it.
According to the Florida Department of Education 312 charter schools have opened, taken public money and closed, leaving communities in a lurch.
There are something like 1,800 private schools that take vouchers. These schools do not have to have certified teachers, a recognized curriculum and the vast majority don’t have to report how they spend the money given to them. Furthermore they are exempt from the state tests which have caused such angst over the years. Why are the tests required for public school students and not for kids that take vouchers? After all both of their educations are being footed by the citizens of Florida.
That brings us to cyber charters which are quickly expanding in Florida because every high school student is required to take at least one class on-line. According to the Stanford CREDO one of the most regarded organizations studying school choice, students in online charters lost an average of about 72 days of learning in reading and lost 180 days of learning in math during the course of a 180-day school year. Friends the school year is only 180 days long. Taking a math class from an on-line charter, which you are helping pay for, is the equivalent of not taking a class at all.
Instead of investing in these options which waste untold millions, it’s time we invested in our public schools.