Tag Archives: charter schools

My Letter on school unions from the Florida Sun Sentinel

Florida Sun Sentinel

Letters to the Editor

Tuesday, December 29,  2015

 Unions impede great educational outcomes

In a Dec. 28 letter a writer suggested that there would be no public schools if it were not for the education unions. In fact, this nation had a much better public school system for almost 200 years without the dominance of school unions.

What the unions have done is protect and defend failed schools and incompetent teachers. They have become among the largest and most powerful lobbyists in Washington and the state capitals. They wield enormous political influence through the billion-dollar pension funds they control and the millions of dollars they dole out in campaign contributions. It is no coincidence that their greatest political influence is with the big city Democratic machines where the worst education in America takes place.

School unions are bulwarks against programs that would allow parents to direct taxpayer financial aid to the schools of their choice — giving students access to better education. Such choice programs are widely acclaimed at the college level where unions do not exist. They are called Pell Grants and student loans.

 

Certainly, most public schools do a good job, and the vast majority of teachers are both competent and dedicated. This is not the result of the unions. The failed schools serving disproportionately minority students, however, is the result of education union policies and politics.

 

Larry Horist, Boca Raton

My take on Charter Schools … as published in the Palm Beach Post, March 5, 2015

Let freedom to start charter ring

State Sen. Jeff Clemens, D-Lake Worth, is proposing legislation that would prevent the establishment of charter schools in districts if the proposed school does not clearly demonstrate that it would meet needs the district does not or cannot provide. This would make it a political decision, to be made by the same local authorities who have a vested interest in keeping charter schools out.

This is another example of government assuming the decision-making authority over the will of the people — especially the parents of school-age kids. Rather than make charter schools better, this is nothing less than legislation designed to keep charter schools from being established.

The only true test for the need of an alternative educational opportunity is, and should be, the parents, whose opinions are readily observed — look at the number of charter-school applicants. It should be up to parents to determine if they are satisfied with their traditional public schools.

LARRY HORIST

BOCA RATON

Here is my view on CHICAGO SCHOOLS (as published in the Chicago Tribune on April 10, 2014)

Vallas Has No Credibility Talking About Schools

I am the former executive director of the City Club of Chicago and president of the Public Policy Caucuses, and I was the chief consultant to both the Chicago and Detroit Boards of Educations.  I recently received an email from the Paul Vallas campaign promoting his bid for lt. governor. He refers to his experience as former head of the Chicago Board of Education as a primary credential.  He also echoes the Democrat’s constant call for more money for schools.

The Chicago urban schools are among the worst in the nation. They did not improve under Vallas’ leadership.  Instead of bragging, he should be apologizing, and explain his failure to improve the education of mostly minority students.

In calling for even more funding, despite the desperate financial condition of the state, he perpetrates a long-standing Democrat myth that the only problem in education is lack of funding.

Like all government bureaucracies, the Illinois education system is riddled with excess personnel and enormous waste. Most new dollars flow directly into teacher contract settlements – with nothing for the classroom.  In some cases, settlements absorbed 110 percent of new money – meaning the student budget had to be cut.  In other cases, one time financial fixes left the schools with unattainable out-year salary and benefit deficits.

The very Democrats who have deprived quality education to mostly minority students would have parents and taxpayers believe that the old failed policies of the past will somehow work.

They never will, because the students come last. The structure is designed to reward the unions for their role in underwriting the Democrat Machine.  They oppose giving parents a choice in education because every student sitting in a classroom is money for the unions and the politicians.

Vallas’ campaign claims are as pathetic and dishonest as those of all the Machine politicians who preceded him.