April 9, 2006

65 Percent and charter schools

Just a thought after reading a story on high profit margins of so-called EMOs (private companies that manage charter schools or public schools under contracts): What would the 65-percent proposal do to private management of schools? The great irony of Florida Governor Bush's attempt to resurrect vouchers in Florida is that attaching the requirement that 65% of funds be spent in the classroom, as the item designed to draw voter approval for whatever is attached to it (last week the lifting of cap sizes in Florida but this week Gov. Bush's favored voucher program), would make private management of any school virtually impossible without further stripping services.

Already as it is, I suspect the 65-percent solution would easily fall in Florida, either because Florida voters generally disapprove of the vouchers to which it'd be attached or because there are a few non-classroom expenses that parents really value (some especially in Florida): air conditioning, buses and bus drivers (hey, wait a second—don't you need transportation to have a public-choice program?), security officers, janitors, nurses, and so forth. Imagine the first line of several radio ads this fall:

  • Your child's classroom may not have air-conditioning when classes start up next August, if Amendment 3 passes...
  • Your child's school may lose its campus security officer next August, if Amendment 3 passes...
  • Your child may have to wait for a bus for three hours every schoolday next August, next August, if Amendment 3 passes...
  • Your child's teacher may have to stop teaching and clean up the floor if someone gets sick next August, if Amendment 3 passes...

I think the odds are against the state senate's approving any constitutional amendment along these lines, anyway. But no one has considered the way that the 65-percent proposal would affect privatization efforts.

Tip of the hat to Jim Horn for the story link.

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Posted in Education policy on April 9, 2006 7:18 PM |