So are we all hypocrites? I believe in public education, I'm a product of public education, and I think the future survival of public education depends upon giving parents and students more CHOICE. But am I also a hypocrite? I hate mandates from on-high, the kind that routinely come to us from Tallahassee and Washington DC embedded like soldiers in funding "trojan horse" appropriations. Most honest administrators will tell you, if they had their druthers, they'd prefer to get the fed/state education money, be allowed to do their jobs and educate kids, and not be burdened by the reporting mandates and hoops to jump through. Why? because these reporting protocols, testing routines, and other mandates are labor intensive, time consuming, and require heavy doses of staff time to meet. (That's why we are top heavy in the admin ranks, by the way) So fewer mandates would allow greater flexibility for schools to do other things--like, say educate kids creatively! Exactly!-that's why private schools don't do these things, duh! But these same administrators that know the destructive side-effects of mandate compliance scream and cry when charter
schools or tax-credit scholarship recipient institutions (that receive way less $ per student than traditional schools) receive money but don't have to comply with the exact-same mandates precisely the same way that traditional public schools have to meet them. We want it one way, but we DON'T want other choice schools to have this flexibility! That's hypocrisy! These public school administrators also complain when charters get Public Education Capital Outlay money, and traditional programs have received none of this for years. I get it, I don't like this either, because it's not right and it's not fair. So what do we do about it?
With the 2014 legislative session here, an equitable compromise can be had. House Speaker Will Weatherford and Senate President Don Gaetz may be able to pull off one of the biggest expansions of the tax-credit scholarship program in Florida History, if Gaetz's demand that recipient schools take benchmark assessments like public schools do can be agreed upon in the House. Will this happen? I hope so. I want to compete straight up with private schools, charter schools, and any other public school. I'm not afraid of competition, and I want parents to have more choices, because I strongly believe the tremendous sum of taxpayer money our state expends every year on education is to benefit PARENTS AND STUDENTS--it is not a de facto employment program for unions and bureaucrats to maintain a "system" of lots of really good schools and a large number of schools that are not performing. Lets economize with taxpayer money, put all the institutions that receive money into a level playing field with respect to mandate compliance, and let parents choose. This will put the bad schools out to pasture, help struggling poverty-stricken individuals send their children to great schools, and ensure tax money is eventually spent only on schools that perform. It's water finding its own level, its Adam Smith, its economics, it works! Let's get out of the way and let it!