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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

What's up with Eric Smith?



We can't tell you where Florida's former education commissioner has gone. He hasn't responded to interview requests, nor has he left us even a good e-mail address to contact him.

But one thing remains constant with Smith: He's still a chief for change.

The Jeb Bush-affiliated organization of state education leaders Chiefs for Change still lists Smith as one of its members emeritus, along with Paul Pastorek, who recently resigned as Louisiana's education commissioner. Newly appointed Florida commissioner Gerard Robinson appears on the list, too, though still officially as Virginia secretary of education.

Today, Chiefs is lauding two federal lawmakers for their bill to expand charter school offerings across the country. Wonder how Florida's newly signed law on charter schools will fit in. Read on for the group's statement.

Dear Chairman Kline and Subcommittee Chairman Hunter:

On behalf of more than 11 million students in our states, the Chiefs for Change commend you

for your leadership in promoting high quality public charter school options for students and their families.  We strongly support the approach of empowering states to tailor grant programs in a way that best meets our unique state and local needs. 

The introduction of H.R. 2218, the Empowering Parents through Quality Charter Schools Act, modernizes the current charter school program and provides incentives and critical support to help high-achieving charter schools grow, replicate, and expand to meet the rising demands of students across the country. We appreciate the effort made to streamline the programs as well as the emphasis placed on replicating high performing schools. 

We strongly support the provisions in Empowering Parents through Quality Charter Schools Act that provide incentives for states to provide equitable funding to charter schools as well as support new models that use online, hybrid, or blended learning.  The legislation also provides needed grants for credit enhancement initiatives that assist charter operators with the cost of acquiring, constructing and renovating facilities.

We strongly support this effort to provide more viable options for students and lend our support for H.R. 2218, the Empowering Parents through Quality Charter Schools Act.

Sincerely, Chiefs for Change 

[Last modified: Monday, June 27, 2011 2:14pm]


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