Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Florida Christian school magically becomes public charter school

This from the Daily Koz:
Coming soon to a school system near you?

Let's say you were running a Christian private school, and were losing students when their families could no longer pay tuition in a tough economy. You'd have a number of options, from raising money from outside sources to cutting costs to shutting down. Or, in the current educational-political atmosphere, you could do what one Florida Christian school is doing: become a charter school.

"Seacoast Charter" is a new K-5 charter school that is run completely separately from Seacoast Christian School, which covers grades 6 through 12. Seacoast Charter will have many of the same students as it did in its previous life as a Christian school—but they'll no longer be paying tuition—and it will expand to include new students. People don't seem worried it will change too much:

Cindy Greene, who's raising a grandchild going into fifth grade at Seacoast, said she loves the school her granddaughter has attended since she was 3 years old. Two other grandchildren also attend the school.

While the Christian atmosphere was a big draw for the family, Greene said she didn't consider leaving. She said the same great teachers will still be at the school, so she's confident that it will remain a good choice for her family.

"I don't think the atmosphere will change," she said.

Same teachers, same administrators, same students. Raise your hand if you think the fact that chapel will no longer be part of the curriculum makes this a legitimate and aboveboard institution of public education in a country in which separation of church and state is the law of the land. While you're at it, raise your hand if you wonder what the rent arrangement will be between the publicly-funded "Seacoast Charter" and the Christian organization that presumably still owns the school facilities.

No matter how they publicize charter schools with tales of impassioned educators starting schools centered around creative ideas and a will to help kids—and such schools do exist—the rush to privatize opens our educational system up to profiteers and creative arrangements like this one.
Hat tip to Joe Meyer

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