Florida and the School Choice Lie
Florida leads the way in spreading the harmful Jim Crow era idea of school “choice.” Instead of giving all public schools the freedoms that charters and private schools have- the DOE, Governor and legislature have stacked the deck against public schools. The Jeb Bush group sets this policy and the rest obey.
Florida has turned public schools into testing factories hobbled by political school grades. The goal is to make public schools look so bad that students and parents will flee. This, of course, often leads to segregation.
Florida also pushes the idea of “failing schools” for political reasons. Of course, schools are reflections of their communities. Scapegoating schools is a popular hobby for political dilettantes in Florida. Pushing meaningless test scores is how politicians keep power and make wealthy donors happy. The agenda is a hatred of public schools and don’t let them tell you anything else.
Schools in all zip codes should be allowed to let kids read and enjoy the arts instead of being forced into test prep for 180 days of terror. It takes about 100 days to complete all of the required testing in Florida. Where is the outrage? Many private schools test less than 5 days a year. Why can’t we all follow that model? That will not happen because DOE and the legislature would lose the ability to push their “choice” canard.
Why can’t all teachers decide when and how to test their students? That will not happen because testing companies will lose billions and the legislature will lose the ability to control the perception of schools.
THIS IS THE KEY POINT. Politicians want the ability to control the perception of schools. This is the basis for ALL educational policy. Any principal or teacher touting “their school grades” or “their test scores” should be fired. The results of standardized tests are almost totally irrelevant.
Choice- then- is built on a lie. A lie that has the ultimate goal of privatizing education and using kids as pawns in a game of power politics. At heart, this idea is anathema to the American ideal of public education as a public good and responsibility.
Scapegoating our schools frees politicians from taking responsibility for bad fiscal, monetary, social and foreign policy decisions.
Follow the money.