You will come to regret these words: “And most important, let’s focus on what’s best for students. We shouldn’t care where they are educated if it’s a high-quality education that prepares them for success in school and in life.”

For once, I can agree with you, but allow Grumpy Old Teacher (GOT) to add the emphasis your recent piece in Florida Politics omitted: We shouldn’t care where they are educated IF [AND ONLY IF] it’s a high-quality education that prepares them for success in school and life.

Too bad you weren’t born a girl, Gary. You make a great cheerleader … oh, wait … that’s rather sexist. Boys are cheerleaders too nowadays, but then maybe that doesn’t fit your politics. It certainly doesn’t fit the policies of many of the private religious schools you demand our taxpayer dollars for.

We’ll never know, Gary, whether students are receiving a high-quality education in the choices you champion and you know the reason why. There’s no accountability.

Yes, GOT knows that charter school students have to suffer–oops, I mean take–the annual state tests that measure nothing more than how well students can perform on that particular test. That’s really not accountability, not when students from charter middle schools show up to GOT’s high school ill-prepared for the final four years of their required education. (Even those from your darling KIPP.)

You know who is prepared? Students from my district’s traditional public middle schools.

That IF is a very big IF. Bigly even. YUGE.

How do we know students are receiving a high-quality education? Especially students utilizing one of Florida’s many and proliferating voucher programs because they don’t have to take the state tests?

Gary, how do we know?

How are those taxpayer dollars being spent? You know, the ones taken from wage earners under compulsory taxation? The ones taken from people, rich and poor, at the same rate as they buy the necessities of life?

Your buddies say we don’t have the right to know. Do you agree with them?

If schools are taking public dollars, shouldn’t the public have the right to set standards that those schools must meet? IF we want to ensure that Florida’s children are receiving a high-quality education?

Shouldn’t we set mandates for how those dollars are spent? Shouldn’t we have reporting requirements and independent audits to make sure those mandates are kept?

IF we want a high-quality education for Florida’s children.

GOT supposes you believe that parents will hold their choice of school to high standards even when those schools withhold the information from parents that they need to make informed choices.

The schools will not divulge their secrets and their true quality unless they are forced to. Not only do we see their resistance every time legislation is introduced for that purpose, not only do we get self-serving, nauseous editorials by people like Patricia Levesque (“What use is there in being a disgrace to the name of wizard if you’re not well paid for it?” Oh, wait, JEB! does pay her well for it), but we see it in the outrageous number of charter schools that close due to financial malfeasance and governing misfeasance by the promoters and owners. There’s a reason #anotherdayanothercharterscandal trends on social media.

Don’t think that history proves otherwise. It was the manipulation of stock markets, the lack of investor information, and the insider trading that was legal during the 1920s that contributed to the stock market crash and the establishment of the Securities and Exchange Commission with strict reporting requirements for all publicly-traded companies that must be accompanied by a report from independent auditors.

It was the adulterated food and beverages, including the unsanitary conditions in which they were produced, that led to the establishment of food and drug regulations and the power to enforce the same by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the newly-created Food and Drug Administration.

These are the agencies we depend upon to keep our lives safe from poisons in our food and drink–such as the formaldehyde that at one time was used as an additive to milk for the purpose of enhancing dairy profits.

No accountability, Gary? No regulations, no requirement, no standards for choice schools? No watchdog agency?

What kind of poison are you pushing upon Florida’s children?

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