Apples and Oranges
Look out: It's unfortunate there are schools like the ones you describe that use McKay vouchers from the state ("Rotten to the Core," Gus Garcia-Roberts," June 23). If there were more accountability, maybe these schools wouldn't exist. I'm sure all of us taxpayers would rather spend a few thousand on more accountability than see millions go to waste.
Tale of two schools: My eldest child is in the McKay program at Sunset Prep, and he has gone from a C-minus average at public school to an A-minus average at Sunset. That improvement is owed to a massive difference in approach and dedication. On the other hand, my wife was a teacher at a school in Homestead for a school year, and that school cared about only the money the McKay students brought in. By the time my wife quit, they were hiring 19-year-olds with one-year diplomas out of community college for $10 an hour. I am appalled that private schools are not required to follow certain teaching qualification standards to be eligible to receive public money. We complain about big government, but in the places where we need oversight, there is none.
Good and plenty: Some public schools are nothing but warehouses with bad baby-sitting. Disabled kids are entitled to an education with safety and dignity, and McKay offers choices for these kids beyond public schools. These bad McKay schools would not exist if parents simply removed their kids and put them in another school. It's a free market, and the McKay program allows you to switch schools quite easily. My son has been in several as we tried to find the right fit for his special needs.
Steve M. Moyer
Safe at home: This is one of the very reasons I am terrified to send my kids to school and opt for home schooling although I have children with special needs. Even though I know there are still good adults in schools, there is a growing number of evil ones who just make me fear for the safety of all children, not just mine.
A-plus: My child receives a McKay scholarship and goes to a private school, but it is because the public school system doesn't know what to do and warehoused him for six years. He learned nothing. It was aggravating, frustrating, and hopeless. His new school, Broach, is wonderful. The teachers and principal work with the parents and students and go the extra mile. They have a heart for disabled kids. I can't praise them highly enough. They have changed our lives, and my son likes school and is looking forward to college. God bless them and the McKay scholarship.
Handouts: Excellent article. Notice the similarity to many of the other issues in Florida regarding fraud. No oversight. Hand out the money and ignore the results. Medicare, Medicaid, and a multitude of other social programs give away money with no idea if the recipients are legitimate. In this case, not only is money being lost, but also the educational lives of those children.
Easy money: One can't help but think these scholarships and redistributed taxpayer funds for these schools were set up purposely without oversight to more readily enable the corporate-owned, private, for-profit schools to also suckle at the teat of public money. Some schools might do a decent job, but the sheer lack of oversight is an affront to taxpayers. Even more of an affront is that the recent legislation didn't assign oversight. So much for education reform Bush-Scott-huckster style.
Jumping to conclusions: A few bad schools — like the one this Brown knucklehead is running — are not representative of the whole system. There are many schools doing a great job with McKay kids. How about taking a look at the good schools, where parents help out every day and the kids' educational needs are met and then some.
Holy smokes, Batman: I have a novel idea. Instead of cutting programs that help people, instill some oversight and stop the looting. We could help twice the number of people in Florida with half the money if our coffers were closed to these criminals. I'm not hopeful this will happen anytime soon, however, considering our state is being run by one of the best criminals there is. Where is Batman when you need him?
Failing grades: This is so sad. I'm from North Florida, and my sister who has a learning disability used the McKay scholarship to go to a school as well. No surprise. She didn't learn anything.
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In the June 16 "Best of Miami" issue, the address for the winner of Best Natural Foods Restaurant, Metro Organic Bistro, should have been listed as 7010 Biscayne Blvd. We regret the error.
One can't help but think these scholarships were set up without oversight to enable the private, for-profit schools to suckle at the teat of public money.