Florida

Putting Education Reform To The Test

Florida Senate President Says Teachers Shouldn’t Expect An Even Playing Field

Jordan Michael/StateImpact Florida

Senate President Don Gaetz says students and teachers should have school choice options.

Supporters say the charter school bill that has a good chance of passing Florida’s Republican controlled Legislature this year will better regulate charters and expand choices for parents.

One thing the bill won’t do is require the same evaluations for charter school teachers as traditional public school teachers.

Charter schools which do not participate in the federal Race to the Top program do not have to evaluate teachers. However, many charter schools are evaluating teachers (search “charter” in our database to find a few).

Senate President Don Gaetz says that’s okay.

“I’ve been in business for thirty years. I’ve never asked for an even playing field,” Gaetz said. “You can’t make everything equal.”

Gaetz is a former public school superintendent and school board chairman in Okaloosa County in the Panhandle.

Just as parents have a choice about where to send their kids to school, he said teachers should also have a choice about where to work.

“If you think you’d rather work in a charter school so that you’re not necessarily under the thumb of the district or of a union, I think you ought to have a chance to apply to a charter school and get selected,” Gaetz said.

He says teachers who feel more comfortable in a traditional school environment should be able to work there, too.

“But you’re not going to get paid the same, you’re not going to get treated the same, you’re not going to get evaluated the same,” Gaetz said.

That’s not okay for Jorge Lugo, a Vero Beach high school teacher and athletics coach who “hates to lose.”

Lugo told a House committee last week that he is all for competition between teachers because it creates a better classroom.

“However, when I’m compared side by side as a public school teacher next to a charter school teacher, and they look at my score versus their score, they’re not the same thing,” Lugo said. “If they’re not held to the same accountability levels as I am, line for line, then it’s not the same score.

“Charter school teachers won’t be held to the same standards or evaluated the same way as the teachers in the public schools,” Lugo said. “Certainly there’s competition, but it’s not fair competition.”

Charter schools are publicly funded, but privately run schools.

Charter schools must hire certified teachers and students must take the same tests required of district school students. But charter schools are exempt from some regulations in order to allow them more flexibility.

For instance, charter school teachers are not unionized. Charter schools can extend school hours or the calendar. And charter school buildings don’t have to abide by the same building codes as district school buildings.

Charter schools are also accused of skimming the best and brightest students. (Others argue the best and brightest students are more likely to seek out a charter school.) Charter schools must use a lottery to determine which students win a spot in the school.

Gaetz says being afraid of school choice is “1950’s thinking.”

“We need to give parents more choices; we need to give students more options,” Gaetz said, “but we need to hold the operators of (all) schools…to the same high standards academically and financially.”

Comments

  • JM

    This shows that the real agenda here is to dismantle public education as we know it. There is no mission to truly improve education for all. What do you think will happen 25 years down the road when public schools no longer exist? The best private schools will charge unaffordable tuition and selectively bias their admissions toward the best and brightest students as a marketing ploy to tout their “success”. Poorer families’ vouchers will not be indexed to keep up with inflation to attend these best schools, but rather will remain depressed. This will essentially afford the least among us an education from the equivalent of a slum lord—not unlike the way Section 8 housing and even Medicaid is run now.

  • http://twitter.com/stsmith222 stsmith222

    JM is correct. Parent Trigger will kill public schools. Florida parents overwhelmingly opposed this bill last year, so why is it back? Take a look at Senate sponsor Kelli Stargel’s campaign donations and you’ll see she’s supported by for-profit charter management companies. It’s all about the money, and not about doing what’s best for children.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/David-Kearns/100000457028857 David Kearns

    He is a turd in his own punch-bowl, filled with corporate, tea-party Kool Aid. And he is inviting all of us to drink heartily.

  • http://www.facebook.com/rjgreene Richard J. Greene

    and why exactly can they not be held to the same standards? Because Mr. Gaetz and his fellow republicans aren’t willing to do so.

  • OCPSTeacher

    I guess a strong enough message wasn’t sent to the Florida legislature in this past election. I hope the voters are ready in 2014. It’s time to replace many of the Republicans in Tallahassee and get legislators who care about students and not profit. Getting rid of Dorworth was a start. Now it’s time to clean the House, the Senate, and replace our unconvicted criminal of a governor.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Barry-Chitwood/100001724623807 Barry Chitwood

    In other words, they are going to improve public education by throwing money at charter schools and allowing them to exist without adhering to the same rigorous standards applied to regular public schools and teachers. This is education reform?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Rosemarie-Jensen/1199997498 Rosemarie Jensen

    This is because their claim that charters out perform public schools is a lie. Half of the 31 failing schools were charters and they have a small total number in this state. So instead of investing in our neighborhood schools which are community centers, they want to keep funneling money into private hands and you can’t do it when your product sucks. If public money is involved, then these schools need to be held accountable to the accountability measures these idiots keep legislating. They know they are in place to make public schools look like their failing so they can’t have that for charters.these people have no shame.

  • Marie

    I’d choose to work in a school that is unionized. This would provide some protections for maintaining my employment for my family’s betterment and from tunnel vision thinking such as Gaetz’.

  • Anonymous Teacher

    I’m a teacher at a charter school and I have been ready to walk out the door many times since I started. I have a large class size of 25 low socioeconomic status Kindergarteners in a tiny room. The criteria on which I’m based on comes from pre-conceived notions of how Kinders should be based on charter schools down south. These schools have high SES families coming into their school, high parent involvement etc. I have no supplies – I wouldn’t have a pencil sharpener if I hadn’t bought one. I have no curriculum to follow – I must make it up myself with no guidance. There are no mentor teachers. The ESE services are abysmal. I cannot wait until I can step foot back into the public school system. If you are a parent considering a charter school, consider it VERY carefully. Yes, there are some good ones out there, but please be aware. ESPECIALLY if your child requires any type of ESE services.

  • http://www.facebook.com/romana.hansen Romana Hansen

    Gaetz said, “but we need to hold the operators of (all) schools…to the same high standards academically and financially.”

    BUT THEY’RE NOT! That not what they’re saying in the article. They’re comparing apples with oranges.
    Does the Florida Republican Legislature have a brain of its own or is every single one of them hard-wired to be “YES” robots?

  • Catherine

    Separate but equal certainly 1950s thinking.

  • Bets

    If he doesn’t want even playing fields, he could switch it up and have the charter schools get the evaluations being handed out at public schools and public schools could go back to the previous evals (not perfect, but a heck of a lot better than now). Then charter school teachers could decide where they want to teach. That would be fine, right, Mr. Gaetz?

  • MARK TRAINA

    BLACK CHARTER SCHOOLS THE NEWEST FORM OF RACISM->

    CHARTER SCHOOL CORRUPTION! 100% BLACK STUDENTS and 95% BLACK TEACHERS AND SCHOOL ADMINISTRATORS

    VIEW CHARTER SCHOOL WEBSITES-COUNT THE NUMBER OF STUDENTS THEY ARE BILLING THE STATE FOR, THEN COUNT HOW MANY STUDENTS ARE ACTUALLY ATTENDING SCHOOL. Get a Cup of Coffee and sit in front of the Student Entrance and COUNT HEADS.

    REQUEST: Volunteer in Charter Schools and see first hand what’s happening on Charter School Campus.

    FACT: Volunteering is a EXCELLENT way to Show Off your TEACHING SKILLS!

    FACT: They told U.S. how “BAD” we were, now its up to U.S, to SHOW the rest of America just how “AWFUL” they are!

    FACT: “CHARTER SCHOOLS SUCK”

    JMHS in NEW ORLEANS IS CHARGING FOR OVER 400 STUDENTS->
    WHO NEVER ATTEND SCHOOL!
    JOHN MC DONOGH HIGH SCHOOL IS THE HOME OF THE OWN TELEVISION NETWORKS NEW REALITY SERIES CALLED THE “BLACK BOARD WARS”!
    ——NOW FOR THE FACTS——
    CHARTER SCHOOLS CHARGE LOCAL TAX PAYERS OVER $8,000 PER REGULAR EDUCATION STUDENT AND OVER $19,000 PER SPECIAL EDUCATION STUDENT ANNUALLY! Are you starting to see the BIG PICTURE here? If you throw in all the EXTRA SPED Money and add in all the Absentee Students that go unaccounted for each and every day, we are taking about literally Hundreds of Millions of Dollars.
    QUESTION: WHO GETS THE MONEY WHEN THE VAST MAJORITY OF STUDENT DON’T EVEN ATTEND SCHOOL?
    ANSWER: The Charter School Operator, especially in cases where they Falsify Attendance Data, which sadly, has been the Case in far tooOOOO MANY CASES AROUND THE DIVIDED STATES OF AMERICA.
    QUESTION: Why has the Liberal Media Jumped all over this form of CORRUPTION?
    ANSWER: Because the LIBERAL JEWS who also control 90% of Americas’ New Media are not and I repeat “NOT” reporting the Prevalence of this very Serious Issue and FOX NEWS spends most of its Air Time Cracking Jokes about President Obama, instead of reporting the Legitimate NEWS!
    In the City of New Orleans John Mc Donogh High School is charging the State of Louisiana for Teaching 556 Students, but in REALITY less than 150 Students attend the School on a daily basis.
    FACT: At $8,000 Dollar per Student that is $3.2 Million USD’s unaccounted for annually, and that’s just at one High School.
    FACT: Multiply that amount by the Number of Charter Schools located in the Greater New Orleans Area and it’s easy to see that HUNDREDS of MILLIONS of USD’s are going unaccounted for annually.
    ———–A QUICK LOOK AT WHAT’S GOING ON IN OTHER STATES———In Philadelphia, the School Reform Commission gets to decide whether a new charter to form a school should be granted. The SRC also decides whether to renew existing charters that are expiring. But it has limited say over what charter schools do in the interim.
    In Philadelphia, charters receive about $8,100 for every regular-education student and $19,700 for every special education student on their rolls. That money comes from the School District of Philadelphia, which gets more than half of its per-pupil spending from the state.
    In response, six city charter schools have gone directly to the state to receive payment. The state has paid the charters, withholding a corresponding amount from its basic education subsidy to the Philadelphia District.
    Broadly speaking, that’s how the state’s charter school law says it should happen.
    No one knows that law better than Pennsylvania charter school pioneer Walter Palmer.
    Since the beginning of the 2011-12 school year, his school, the Walter D. Palmer Leadership Learning Partners Charter, has received $5.5 million directly from PDE. That money has been deducted from the state subsidy to the District.
    Palmer, whose school now enrolls roughly several hundred students more than his charter agreement spells out, says he’s entitled to every penny: “The legislation states very clearly that charters cannot be capped.”

    fatuous1 is MARK TRAINA an outspoken Certified School Psychologist from Louisiana.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch

  • Mark Traina

    BLACK CHARTER SCHOOLS THE NEWEST FORM OF RACISM->

    CHARTER SCHOOL CORRUPTION! 100% BLACK STUDENTS and 95% BLACK TEACHERS AND SCHOOL ADMINISTRATORS

    VIEW CHARTER SCHOOL WEBSITES-COUNT THE NUMBER OF STUDENTS THEY ARE BILLING THE STATE FOR, THEN COUNT HOW MANY STUDENTS ARE ACTUALLY ATTENDING SCHOOL. Get a Cup of Coffee and sit in front of the Student Entrance and COUNT HEADS.

    REQUEST: Volunteer in Charter Schools and see first hand what’s happening on Charter School Campuses.

    FACT: Volunteering is a EXCELLENT way to Show Off your TEACHING SKILLS!

    FACT: They told U.S. how “BAD” we were, now its up to U.S, to SHOW the rest of America just how “AWFUL” they are!

    FACT: “CHARTER SCHOOLS SUCK”

    JMHS in NEW ORLEANS IS CHARGING FOR OVER 400 STUDENTS->
    WHO NEVER ATTEND SCHOOL!
    JOHN MC DONOGH HIGH SCHOOL IS THE HOME OF THE OWN TELEVISION NETWORKS NEW REALITY SERIES CALLED THE “BLACK BOARD WARS”!
    ——NOW FOR THE FACTS——
    CHARTER SCHOOLS CHARGE LOCAL TAX PAYERS OVER $8,000 PER REGULAR EDUCATION STUDENT AND OVER $19,000 PER SPECIAL EDUCATION STUDENT ANNUALLY! Are you starting to see the BIG PICTURE here? If you throw in all the EXTRA SPED Money and add in all the Absentee Students that go unaccounted for each and every day, we are taking about literally Hundreds of Millions of Dollars.
    QUESTION: WHO GETS THE MONEY WHEN THE VAST MAJORITY OF STUDENT DON’T EVEN ATTEND SCHOOL?
    ANSWER: The Charter School Operator, especially in cases where they Falsify Attendance Data, which sadly, has been the Case in far tooOOOO MANY CASES AROUND THE DIVIDED STATES OF AMERICA.
    QUESTION: Why has the Liberal Media Jumped all over this form of CORRUPTION?
    ANSWER: Because the LIBERAL JEWS who also control 90% of Americas’ New Media are not and I repeat “NOT” reporting the Prevalence of this very Serious Issue and FOX NEWS spends most of its Air Time Cracking Jokes about President Obama, instead of reporting the Legitimate NEWS!
    In the City of New Orleans John Mc Donogh High School is charging the State of Louisiana for Teaching 556 Students, but in REALITY less than 150 Students attend the School on a daily basis.
    FACT: At $8,000 Dollar per Student that is $3.2 Million USD’s unaccounted for annually, and that’s just at one High School.
    FACT: Multiply that amount by the Number of Charter Schools located in the Greater New Orleans Area and it’s easy to see that HUNDREDS of MILLIONS of USD’s are going unaccounted for annually.
    ———–A QUICK LOOK AT WHAT’S GOING ON IN OTHER STATES———In Philadelphia, the School Reform Commission gets to decide whether a new charter to form a school should be granted. The SRC also decides whether to renew existing charters that are expiring. But it has limited say over what charter schools do in the interim.
    In Philadelphia, charters receive about $8,100 for every regular-education student and $19,700 for every special education student on their rolls. That money comes from the School District of Philadelphia, which gets more than half of its per-pupil spending from the state.
    In response, six city charter schools have gone directly to the state to receive payment. The state has paid the charters, withholding a corresponding amount from its basic education subsidy to the Philadelphia District.
    Broadly speaking, that’s how the state’s charter school law says it should happen.
    No one knows that law better than Pennsylvania charter school pioneer Walter Palmer.
    Since the beginning of the 2011-12 school year, his school, the Walter D. Palmer Leadership Learning Partners Charter, has received $5.5 million directly from PDE. That money has been deducted from the state subsidy to the District.
    Palmer, whose school now enrolls roughly several hundred students more than his charter agreement spells out, says he’s entitled to every penny: “The legislation states very clearly that charters cannot be capped.”

    fatuous1 is MARK TRAINA an outspoken Certified School Psychologist from Louisiana.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch

  • http://twitter.com/Pattypan Pattypan

    Charter schools are leading us right back to a segregated “separate but equal” school system. Parents don’t want their children to go to school with “bad” kids so they choose charter schools.

  • tiredinflorida

    Senator Gaetz position is in direct opposition to Article IX, Section 1 of the Florida Constitution. This is an from the 1st paragraph: “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 …”
    Only a politician could brazenly contradict the Constitution he is sworn to uphold and become a leader of his peers.

  • Mark N Starla Traina

    COMMON CORE COMMONUNISM

    COMMONUNISM – defined – COMMUNIST INDOCTRINATION – one of the BIGGEST SIGNS of the ENDTIMES! The BUILDING BLOCKS that will be used to turn “PUPILS” into “PRODUCTS”! “PRODUCTS that will be used to PROMOTE OBAMANATIONISM!”

    COMMONUNISM simply stated is “SYSTEMIC-BRAIN-WASHING”

    Common Core would make any communist regime proud:

    http://www.renewamerica.com/columns/miller/131021

    Letter: Common Core is about teaching socialism, communism:

    http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/opinion/57546566-82/government-schools-belong-common.html.csp

    It Begins… Communist Indoctrination Included in Common Core Literature for First Graders (Video):

    http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2013/05/it-begins-communist-indoctrination-included-in-common-core-literature-for-first-graders-video/

    Crazy Crawfish’s Blog: Is Common Core Communism:

    http://nepc.colorado.edu/blog/common-core-communism

    fatuous1
    MARK TRAINA
    CERTIFIED SCHOOL PSYCHOLOGIST
    NATIONAL ASSOCIATION for the ADVANCEMENT of WHITE PEOPLE

  • Mark N Starla Traina

    fatuous1
    discusses the COMMON CORE – May 7th – JPPSS BOARD MEETING

    COMMON CORE: The
    OBAMACARE of EDUCATION

    NAAWP EDUCATION
    NEWS UPDATE: 04-10-2014

    http://misguidedchildren.com/domestic-affairs/2014/02/sex-ed-common-core-style-is-this-what-you-want-for-your-kids/14839

    At least a dozen states are now delaying or
    rethinking their implementation of the new Common Core educational standards,
    as opposition from parents and teachers grows. No wonder: Initially, teachers
    thought Common Core was just another educational fad destined to soon be
    replaced by the next new idea. But they’ve found instead that Common Core is an
    educational track that parallels the Obamacare: both are designed to
    “fundamentally transform” America, both were conjured up out of audacious
    incompetence, both are products of ideological thinking rather than experience
    and common sense, and both are guaranteed to produce disastrous consequences.

    Like Obamacare, Common Core was forced onto
    the public as a naked federal government takeover. Common Core usurps state and
    local governments, based on the dubious idea that the local rubes can’t be
    trusted to understand and meet the needs of their own children. Common Core was
    developed without state legislative involvement or authority, without
    involvement of curriculum or content specialists, and it was never voted on by
    anybody. Instead, it began with progressive educational insiders in Washington,
    D.C., was developed by Achieve, Inc., a group of progressive education
    reformers, shaped by commercial vendor NCS Pearson, Inc., and funded primarily
    by Bill and Melinda Gates through numerous foundations, organizations, and
    coalitions. At the last minute, two D.C.-based trade associations, the National
    Governors Association and the Council of State School Officers, were brought in
    to give the appearance of local and state involvement. Common Core has been
    implemented primarily through billions in federal “bribes,” because states had
    to accede to it in order to receive “Race to the Top” grants or waivers for “No
    Child Left Behind.”

    This federal
    takeover of education is yet another instance of Washington elites expanding
    the scope, size, and reach of the federal government and its bloated, wasteful,
    imperious, and very often incompetent bureaucracy. So what that three federal
    laws prohibit the federal government from setting the education curriculum of
    the various states? So what that any reasonable common sense reading of the
    U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights leads to the conclusion that the power to
    set education standards is reserved to the states? So what if they ignore their
    oath to uphold the Constitution? Yet, Common Core cannot be changed by state
    legislatures or state school boards, nor can taxpayers or parents have a voice
    in the local schools under Common Core; instead, these “standards” were forced
    onto local schools before any details were known (remember “we have to pass the
    bill to know what is in the bill”?) and without state legislative approval or
    public hearings.

    “This is just
    another fine mess the OBAMA ADMINISTRATION has gotten U.S. in to” (TRAINAISM)

    QUESTION: How much of the SOUTHERN POVERTY LAW
    CENTER and the ANTI-DEFAMATION LEAGUE’s LGBT AGENDA has been INJECTED into the
    COMMON CORE CURICULUM?

    FACT: PARENTS have the LEGAL RIGHT to KNOW
    just how much SEXUAL PERVERSION their CHILDREN are being subjected to in the
    JEFFERSON PARISH PUBLIC SCHOOL SYSTEM!

    NATIONAL ASSOCIATION for the ADVANCEMENT of
    WHITE PEOPLE

    COMMON CORE TEXT BOOK TITLES and RELATED MATERIALS
    will be made available to ATTENDEES

  • Mark N Starla Traina

    COMMON CORE
    STANDARDS are EXACTLY the SAME in every STATE, which is illegal and commonly
    called COMMONUNISM!

    COMMONUNISM is
    basically COMMUNISM – PLEASE don’t be FOOLED, by our totally CORRUPT FEDERAL
    GOVERNMENT’S attempts to CONTROL every aspect of our LIVES from EDUCATION, to
    RELIGION, even our HEALTHCARE!

    We LIVE in a
    POLITICALLY CORRECTIZED COUNTRY where it’s OK for TEACHER’S to TEACH our KIDS
    about MASTURBATION, GAY and TRANSEXUAL LIFESTYLES, but not JESUS CHRIST. PUBLIC SCHOOL TEACHERS can no long celebrate
    CHRISTMAS or read PASSAGES from our HOLY BIBLE, but can DISCUSS SEXUALLY
    PERVERTED LIFESTYLES!

    STOP COMMON CORE!

    “There is no evidence to justify a single standard for all students,
    given the diversity of interests, talents and needs among students. A one
    size-fits-all model assumes that we already know the best standard for all
    students; it assumes that one best way for all students exists.”

    Find out more: http://www.stopcommoncoreny.com/

    NAAWP calls
    BULL$HYT

    LEARN how to
    produce PRODUCTS of the STATE and FEDERAL GOVERNMENT:

    http://www.corestandards.org/other-resources/statements-of-support/

    NATIONAL ASSOCIATION for the ADVANCEMENT of WHITE PEOPLE

    naawp et., al., all rights unreserved

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