As a retired educator, I was appalled by the Gov. Ron DeSantis’s recent attack on public schools. His statement that “public money makes it a public school” is wrong and dangerous. Our public schools are staffed by certified teachers who have been trained in effective education methods. They are run by administrators who are also certified, and many of them have been in the classroom. Public schools are accountable to the communities they serve through elected school boards. Private schools, charter schools, and home-schooling have NONE of these criteria. I do not want my tax dollars going to private schools where there is no oversight by the community in which I live. And I especially don’t want my tax dollars going to fund religious schools. We still have something called the “separation of church and state.”
Many claim that private schools and charter schools have better results. I would argue that most of the data showing this is, in fact, comparing apples to oranges. Private and charter schools have a much different population. They can remove students who are not behaving, not achieving, or just because. Therefore, their results are going to be better than public schools who must take all students. The outcomes from private and charter schools are also better because there is more parent involvement. Parents who can afford to send their kids to school are more likely to be the ones who monitor the child’s progress closely.
Florida ranks 26 out of 50 states in education measures. If you look at specific outcomes, we are even lower. And, not surprisingly, we also rank well below average in per pupil spending. Please tell your representative and the governor to fund schools properly, not shift money from public schools. Our kids’ futures depend on it.