Here is a new charter school trick. The Florida legislature, which has an unseemly number of members who are directly connected to the charter industry, passed legislation that will benefit charters and harm public schools. Parents of public school students have been writing Governor Rick Scott and urging him to veto the bill. The public school parents are acting on their own. It would be unethical for their schools to encourage political activity. The two charter schools involved are part of the politically powerful for-profit Academica chain.
Some charter schools are offering parents an incentive to write the governor and urge him to sign the bill. At least two charter schools in Hialeah, Florida, are urging parents and students to contact the governor in support of the bill, which will help them and hurt public schools.
Some school choice advocates in South Florida are going so far as to offer incentives to parents in order to amplify the perception of public support for a controversial K-12 public schools bill that many are urging Gov. Rick Scott to veto.
At least two privately managed charter schools in Hialeah — Mater Academy Lakes High School and City of Hialeah Educational Academy — publicly advertised this week that they would give parents five hours’ credit toward their “encouraged” volunteer hours at the school, so long as they wrote a letter or otherwise urged Gov. Rick Scott to sign HB 7069.
“It is IMPERATIVE that the Governor, and the rest of the State of Florida, see what a POSITIVE DEMAND there is for this education bill,” read an alert on the homepage of Mater Academy Lakes’ website Thursday evening. “This is the strongest legislation supporting the charter school movement since charters were first established in Florida 20 years ago.”
“We need all of our Bear Family to show their support for HB 7069 and encourage your friends, family and children to get involved as well,” the message continued…
The two Hialeah charter schools’ advocacy and other promotional efforts by influential school choice organizations come in the wake of a groundswell of opposition from traditional public school supporters since lawmakers passed HB 7069 on May 8.
The nearly 10,000 phone calls, emails, letters and individual petition signatures received by Gov. Rick Scott were 3-to-1 against the bill, as of information provided Thursday evening. In contrast to the charters, there is no evidence that traditional public school advocates have offered incentives to boost support for their veto campaign.
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Public school advocates are pinning their hopes for a veto on a Republican governor who looks to Jeb Bush for guidance. Will he listen to public school parents? We will watch.
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