EVERYBODY LOSES WHEN CHARTER SCHOOLS WIN. LOOK, IT’S A PROVEN FACT THAT PRIVATIZING PUBLIC EDUCATION IS REALLY DUMB: “Most Florida taxpayers are surprised to learn that charter schools are part of the public school system and are paid for by taxpayer dollars. Yet, in a yearlong study, the League of Women Voters of Florida has found that charter schools do not improve student achievement. Moreover, a lawsuit filed by Southern Legal Counsel contends that adding charter schools as an option does not fulfill the state's constitutional mandate for a uniform, high-quality system of public education for all children. Charter schools in Florida were authorized by the Legislature in 1996. In 2012-13, charters enrolled 203,000 students in 578 charter schools in 46 Florida counties. Hillsborough County has 42 charter schools, with an enrollment of approximately 14,000 students, or 7 percent of the total school population. In Hillsborough, three charter schools that have opened since 2011 are owned by Charter Schools USA, a for-profit corporation, and these three alone enroll more than 20 percent of all charter students. In 2011, Woodmont Charter School, one of these three, expended 44 percent of its total revenue on instruction and 42 percent on management fees and leases. By contrast, traditional Hillsborough County schools spend at least 86 percent of revenue on instruction. Woodmont had FCAT scores of D for 2012 and F for 2013, and this is not unusual, since charter schools composed 50 percent of all F-rated Florida schools in 2011. Meanwhile, the six traditional public elementary schools and one middle school within 1 mile of Woodmont all have higher FCAT scores. Sadly, the traditional public schools are losing students, and thus public dollars, to the "choice" school that advertises a superior alternative. Neither the charter nor traditional public school students are benefiting, creating a lose/lose scenario.” (via Tampa Bay Times)
BECAUSE WE SHOULD STILL GET PISSED OFF ABOUT CENSORSHIP, EVEN AS SOCIETY DIES ON THE VINE: “A graduate student at Florida State University who worked at the state-run Mission San Luis quit her job Tuesday in protest of the Department of State's decision to abruptly cancel a talk featuring FSU professor Diane Roberts. Roberts, a scholar, writer and public radio commentator, has been an outspoken critic of Gov. Rick Scott's administration. The state abruptly cancelled her scheduled April 3 lecture on the subject of problems with Florida's lakes, springs and rivers. Jessica Kindrick, 24, had an $11-an-hour job at the state-run museum. She said she decided to quit after a tense verbal exchange Tuesday with the mission's director, Robert Blount. "He said something along the lines of, 'If you have a serious problem with this then you probably should go ahead and resign. You've made a target of yourself,’" Kindrick said. She also said Blount asked her if she had "a death wish." Kindrick had anonymously posted highly critical comments of the controversy on a blog on the social media forum reddit.com under the headline "Rick Scott's cronies politically censor Tallahassee, FL museum lecture." Kindrick wrote: "As a museum professional, I am appalled and disgusted by this blatant political maneuvering at the expense of my, and my institution's, integrity and desire nothing more than to see this come to light." (via Tampa Bay Times)
WHEN YOUR HOBBY IS HYPOCRICY: “When Obamacare compelled businesses to include emergency contraception in employee health care plans, Hobby Lobby, a national chain of craft stores, fought the law all the way to the Supreme Court. The Affordable Care Act's contraception mandate, the company's owners argued, forced them to violate their religious beliefs. But while it was suing the government, Hobby Lobby spent millions of dollars on an employee retirement plan that invested in the manufacturers of the same contraceptive products the firm's owners cite in their lawsuit. Documents filed with the Department of Labor and dated December 2012—three months after the company's owners filed their lawsuit—show that the Hobby Lobby 401(k) employee retirement plan held more than $73 million in mutual funds with investments in companies that produce emergency contraceptive pills, intrauterine devices, and drugs commonly used in abortions. Hobby Lobby makes large matching contributions to this company-sponsored 401(k). Several of the mutual funds in Hobby Lobby's retirement plan have holdings in companies that manufacture the specific drugs and devices that the Green family, which owns Hobby Lobby, is fighting to keep out of Hobby Lobby's health care policies: the emergency contraceptive pills Plan B and Ella, and copper and hormonal intrauterine devices.” (via Mother Jones)
ON TEMPESTS IN TEAPOTS AND DEMOCRATS NOT PROMOTING IDEAS: “Dear Florida Democratic Party, I really can’t anymore. Day after day, my Twitter feed, email inbox, and Facebook newsfeed are covered with constant attacks from you against our Republican Governor Rick Scott. Whether it’s bashing him for a weak economic recovery in Florida spearheaded by the creation of minimum wage jobs, his lengthy list of administration officials that have resigned, been fired, or left the administration, to bashing his well-known fraud filled corporate career before he became governor, every day seems to bring forth another attack. Yes Florida Democratic Party, we get it. Our governor is arguably the worst and least popular in the country and an even worse human being with a track record marked with failure after failure, embarrassment after embarrassment, and top down economic policies that leave middle and working class Floridians in the dark. Throughout this entire election cycle thus far, specifically since former Republican and self-proclaimed pro-life, anti-tax, pro-gun Reagan Conservative and Jeb Bush Republican,Charlie Crist got into this race, the FDP’s entire strategy has been to remind Floridians of the reasons why Rick Scott and his Republican minions are the wrong choice for Florida. The problem is that strategy hasn’t worked in the past (see: Alex Sink 2010) and isn’t working now, as the latest polls tell us. As we’ve reported at The Florida Squeeze, Charlie Crist’s numbers have been slipping ever since his announcement. The latest poll out of St. Leo University has Crist’s lead down to just four points, while back in December it was up to twelve. While Crist has at times tried to talk about issues, the party simply has not.” (via The Florida Squeeze)
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