Freedom isn’t good for schools, Democrat says

One of the dumbest opinion pieces published lately comes from, not surprisingly, a Democrat.

City Council Member Jimmy Peluso, a rookie in his first term, wrote the piece that ran in Jax Today.

As much as any sense can be derived from it, the essay appears to blame charter schools, or the state government, or somebody, for the planned closing of some government schools in Jacksonville.

Giving parents a choice about where their children go to school has aroused Peluso’s ire.

They should shut up and send their children to the school bureaucrats have chosen for them, apparently.

Florida, to its credit, leads the nation in school choice and one of the choices is charter schools, which are schools given some freedom from the rigidness of traditional government schools.

Peluso does not like that.

He calls charter schools a “virus” that can kill other government schools.

He says the choice parents make is being ignored, which is nonsense.

What has happened is that a few years ago the school district came up with a master plan to replace old schools. The schools were needed not for growth — because the student population isn’t growing much — but because the district had neglected to build new schools for so long the maintenance was costing far too much.

The plan was estimated to cost $1.9 billion, funded by a sales tax increase. But the current cost estimate is double that amount.

Therefore, the district is contemplating closing a number of schools and eliminating some of the wasted space. It currently uses only 76 percent of the space available.

Closing some schools arouses nostalgia among those who attended them. I get that. I went to Fishweir, which is one of those on the chopping block. My nostalgia does not exceed my concern about my pocketbook, however. Fishweir is more than a century old. Maybe it deserves retirement.

But Peluso makes the colossally illogical argument that Fishweir shouldn’t be closed because it is an A school.

The ancient bricks and wooden floors of Fishweir did not cause the students to get good grades.

It was the teachers, parents and students that achieved the high grade. Presumably, they could do the same no matter where the kids are housed during school hours.

Charter schools are a disaster to “our public schools,” Peluso says.

Then why do so many parents choose them? And who is a better judge of what is best for their children?

Maybe some are tired of their children being exposed to pornography in the government schools or being the victims of violence.

Being a Democrat, Peluso quickly turned to skin color, claiming that charter schools are  minority students are ill-treated in charter schools.

Peluso merely is supporting a reliable Democrat funding machine.

It works like this: Democrat led legislators throw money at government schools. Most of it goes to teacher salaries. Powerful teacher unions rake off a percentage of those salaries and donate billions to the campaigns of Democrat politicians, who kickback if elected by restarting the cycle.

Since this scheme began, spending on education has soared but educational outcomes have not.

We can all remember four years ago when there was a real virus. A guy named Fauci told a lot of lies about it. Let us hope everyone learned a lesson from that experience.

Lloyd Brown

Lloyd was born in Jacksonville. Graduated from the University of North Florida. He spent nearly 50 years of his life in the newspaper business …beginning as a copy boy and retiring as editorial page editor for Florida Times Union. He has also been published in a number of national newspapers and magazines, as well as Internet sites. Married with children. Military Vet. Retired. Man of few words but the words are researched well, deeply considered and thoughtfully written.


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