Home > Uncategorized > Florida Legislators Deregulation of Private For-Profit Charters Mirrors “Economic Development” Tactics Everywhere

Florida Legislators Deregulation of Private For-Profit Charters Mirrors “Economic Development” Tactics Everywhere

March 30, 2018

Diane Ravitch posted an excerpt from a Politico article describing how the Florida legislature is attempting to lure for-profit schools to its state by offering incentives. Here’s an excerpt of the post:

“A controversial program signed into law in June called “Schools of Hope” gives charter school networks designated as “Hope Operators” the ability to open a “School of Hope” within five miles of a persistently low-performing public school. Those operators, collectively, get access to a pot of tens of millions of dollars to cover startup costs, personnel and specialized educational offerings, plus are given the flexibility of being exempt from a long list of state public education laws.

The Florida legislature is doing the same thing to privatized schools as it and other legislatures and local governments have done for private businesses for decades. By offering enticements to lure businesses into relocating the legislators are doing the bidding of profit seekers: they reduce the operating costs (i.e. costs for taxes, infrastructure, and meeting regulatory guidelines) in exchange for jobs— most of which are non-union low-wage jobs that pay just enough to avoid draining the state’s coffers. With this system in place, everyone loses except shareholders… and the biggest losers are public funded enterprises like schools and social services who lose revenue when taxes are waived.

And, unfortunately, this effort to lure private enterprises to a state or city are hardly limited to schools. One only has to look at how states and cities are bending over backwards to get Amazon’s new HQ if you think that this tactic is limited to privatized for profit schools. School buildings and infrastructure are crumbling in every state of the union but virtually every state in the union somehow found the wherewithal to put together a package to bring Amazon to them. And brick and mortar stores are as happy about this development as public schools are happy about the “Schools For Hope”.  Instead of creating a virtuous circle where new businesses bring in new taxes and well paying jobs, State legislators and city councils are creating a series of vicious circles where taxes are reduced and maintenance is deferred in order to entire low-wage enterprises into their communities.

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