Today is my last day editing this blog. After 23 years as a Floridian, six years chronicling the politics and policy of the public education system that educated me, and four and half years writing in this space, I’m moving on to start a new chapter alongside my fiancee, who teaches high school English in New Orleans.
It’s a transition from one hotbed of education reform to another. And it’s got me thinking.
A couple months after I first joined Step Up For Students, I wrote a recap of the 2014 Florida legislative session. It was a bruising one for school choice advocates. My thesis was that all the sturm and drang over how to measure academic outcomes of students who used scholarships to attend private schools, or how to manage the charter school application process, signaled a new era in the politics and policy of public education in our state. We were done fighting over whether charter schools or voucher programs ought to exist. They existed, and it was clear they weren’t going anywhere. We’d moved on to thornier questions about how to govern them.
Looking back, more than four years later, that may have been wishful thinking. In Florida and around the country, advocates and academics burn staggering amounts of intellectual jet fuel litigating whether charter schools are good or bad for public education and whether private school choice is a win-win solution or an affront to American ideals.
In this space, we’ve tried to push the debate in more productive directions. How can the state stop the bad charter school operators, while encouraging new, better ones to open and expand? How can politicians who support public education draw lessons from charter schools and apply them in districts? How can schools of all types foster innovations that will help them meet the educational needs of all their students? Continue Reading →