In Florida’s Tangled Mess of School Privatization, Students Rights Are Trampled, Tax Dollars Wasted


An old friend in Florida recently asked me why I haven’t been writing about the challenges posed by the explosion of marketplace school choice in Florida.  I’ll confess the reason: The problems have felt overwhelming to me—seemingly impossible for someone from outside the state to follow.

Here are just some of the headlines in the past three months: “Florida’s Charter-School Sector Is a Real Mess,” “Florida Really Is the Worst,” “Republicans Want to Turbocharge Privatization of Florida Public Schools,” Charter School Companies Feast at the Public Trough,” and “Why Florida Is Struggling to Fill More than 2,000 Teaching Positions.”

One must remind oneself of the purposes of public education as one considers what’s happening in Florida.

Public schools are established by law and democratically governed. Because public schools are responsible to the public, it is possible through elected school boards, open meetings, transparent record keeping and redress through the courts…

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