Florida governor Rick Scott plans to sign into law a controversial bill that would pour $419 million in the state’s charter schools. The law was met with a wall of opposition from public school advocates.
The bill will be signed Thursday at the Morning Star Catholic School in Orlando. The extra funding will allow the number of charter schools to grow in Florida. The proposal also includes an additional $30 million for a special program to help students with disabilities. What’s more, Florida’s 1.2 million children in public schools would have guaranteed daily school recess.
The bill was pushed by House Republicans, conservative groups, and school choice advocates. The law’s critics who include school boards and parent groups want the governor to reject the legislation.
Critics are concerned that school districts would be forced to redirect millions of dollars to charter schools instead of investing in public schools. Critics also slammed the Schools for Hope program designed to build charter schools in poor neighborhoods where public schools are struggling. Schools for Hope will receive $140 million.
Kids Should Come First
On the other hand, the bill’s proponents blasted school districts for investing more in the construction of new schools instead of helping kids in poor districts get education.
“They’re building $40 million Taj Mahal buildings up and down the state and we’re saying: focus on the beautiful minds, not beautiful buildings,’’
said House Speaker Richard Corcoran.
The lawmaker denied reports that public schools would lose money to charter schools under the new legislation. He said Schools for Hope should not be a reason for concern since they are meant to fix the fact that the U.S. is the richest country on the planet but its schools are “failure factories.”
The House Speaker described the controversial bill as one of the best things that happened to K-12 education in the history of Florida. Opponents have staged protest to halt the bill from being signed into law, while supporters are also rallying for the bill.
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