Our public education system is designed to benefit us all whether we have a child attending a school or not. This means when we start to weaken it by diverting funds to mostly for-profit charter schools which have been marred by closures and scandals and to vouchers which funnel money into barely regulated schools lacking both financial and academic oversight, we are all harmed.
Article nine, section one of the Florida Constitution says: The education of children is a fundamental value of the people of the State of Florida. It is, therefore, a paramount duty of the state to make adequate provision for the education of all children residing within its borders.
Adequate provision shall be made by law for a uniform, efficient, safe, secure, and high quality system of free public schools that allows students to obtain a high quality education and for the establishment, maintenance, and operation of institutions of higher learning and other public education programs that the needs of the people may require.
When the people of Florida voted to add article nine, I am sure they did not envision a system where we have no idea how students who attend schools with vouchers, paid for with taxes diverted from the state coffers, are doing and the proliferation of charter schools, of which over 260 have failed and many of those that remain are for-profit.
The three-headed monster Tallahassee has created over the last few years is neither uniform, efficient and in the case of vouchers and charters, high quality.
In the New Year, Tallahassee should scale back charters and vouchers and invest in our public schools and that's not just my and millions of people's opinion, it's what the Florida constitution demands.