There is an inherent conflict of interests when schools are run by for-profit companies. Less money put into the classroom means more money in the CEO's account. The tax money that goes to schools is meant to provide a meaningful education for our children, not to line the pockets of CEO's. These companies lobby for their interests and provide significant campaign contributions in order to secure their place in our education system. We cannot allow their influence to outweigh their track records. A school is not a business and cannot be run as such.
Among other factors, schools receive funding based on the number of students attending. This means that if students fail to progress, the school can continue to take in money for them, so long as they stay enrolled. Why encourage students to succeed, when their failure helps the bottom line? Often these schools target students at risk of dropping out. This has a double benefit for those taking advantage of the system, as at-risk students are more likely to fail, and the public tends to dismiss this as the norm, leading these schools to be absolved from more intense scrutiny.
Florida's laws do not provide necessary regulations to prevent the abuse of our tax money when placed in the hands of companies looking to make a profit under the guise of providing an education to our children. The links below will take you to numerous articles exposing schools that have already been accused of various misconducts including the falsifying of records, such as grades and attendance, the mismanagement of funding, and a lack of accreditation. Even when gross mismanagement is brought to light and failing grades are received, these schools can take years to shut down. In addition, there is nothing preventing these companies from trying to open more schools while this is going on. This is at the expense of our children and our tax dollars.
Charter schools can make a difference when they are focused on helping their students and not on making a profit. They provide a possible solution to the problems in our education system, but, as things stand, these for-profit companies, that are failing our children, are poised to tarnish the idea of charter schools in general. Florida has the second largest number of charter schools in the country with more opening every year. With Florida’s population of charter schools growing at such a rapid rate, it is necessary to address this issue now before it becomes more of a problem. With good reason, states such as New York, Tennessee and New Mexico have already banned for-profits from managing their schools, and it’s time for Florida to step up as well.
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