Florida: Charter School Closes Without Notice to Parents or Students or Teachers

imagesThe Unity Charter School suddenly closed, without any advance notice to parents, students, or teachers.

Parents at Unity Charter School are having to look for new arrangements for their children after the school suddenly closed Thursday and is being foreclosed on. Parents received an automated message Wednesday evening reporting that there would be no school Thursday, due to circumstances beyond their control. Calls and emails to the school on Thursday received no response.

A bank foreclosed on the property for nonpayment on the mortgage. The property will be auctioned off in a few weeks.

School leaders had some personal financial issues involving misuse of school funds that turned up in an audit last year, but none rose to the level of criminal acts.

Isn’t “School Choice” wonderful (not)?

Charter schools open and close like day lilies. The entrepreneurs lobby legislators to get money and tax breaks. They pay teachers as little as they have to. They siphon money away from public schools, which are stable fixtures in their community.

And the Florida Legislature, controlled by choice zealots and by people who have a direct financial interest in charters, are diverting more money away from real public schools to benefit charters. Nearly half the charters in the state are now run by for-profit operators.

Real public schools don’t close without a struggle to keep them open. Real public schools are the heart of their community. Real public schools don’t close on a whim of their corporate owner, because they are public schools, not charter schools.

Make no mistake: the growth of the charter sector in Florida is driven by greed, not by the needs of children.

In Maryland, charter schools have been out of control where they have existed since 2003. In 2003, the General Assembly passed legislation authorizing charter schools in Maryland. The legislation outlined the parameters for applicants, authorizers, employees, the application timeline, and the review and revocation of charter agreements. Since the passage of the law, charter schools have been opened in Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Frederick, Prince George’s, and St. Mary’s counties and Baltimore City. The majority of charters are found in Baltimore City, where 38 of the state’s 52 charter schools operate and more than 10,000 of the state’s 17,000 charter school students are enrolled.

Charter schools provide an opportunity for focused learning using innovative curricula and instructional methods with the goal of enhancing student achievement. They have the potential to facilitate education reforms and develop new and creative teaching methods that can benefit children in all public schools.

However, research has shown that charter schools are not a panacea for every problem plaguing students despite public corruption plaguing them at very turn within their ranks. The state of Maryland is not doing enough to curb public corruption within the schools. If anything, the state officials have been busy covering things up. College park academy raised eyebrows when it was launched in 2017. Public Corruption tied to it continues to this day.

Time has come to stop the charter school movement from spreading further in Maryland at the expense of the public schools. A few public school officials involved in malfeasance must be exposed and let go.

#GreedNotNeed

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