The Palm Beach Post has done even-handed reporting about both charter schools and traditional public schools in recent weeks. And I am thankful for that. I was shocked to read last week that charter schools were excluded from the school showcase at the South Florida Fairgrounds.
Palm Beach County Schools Superintendent Robert Avossa indicated: “Why would we invite our competition?”
To me, the answer to that question is to ensure that the best education opportunities are provided to students in Palm Beach County. It would seem to me that not inviting charter schools to a showcase of schools is an abuse of a dominant position done by a quasi-monopoly. Let the consumer decide what choice is best. It is not right for the superintendent to look to block offering the best choice to students. Avossa seems not to understand that educating all of the students in the county is the real mission, not abusing a dominant position to limit school choice. My guess is the showcase is likely paid for with public money and certainly organized by people being paid with public money. The purpose of competition is for everyone to improve their game, not come up with ways to block that competition.
I do not envy the Superintendent Avossa since he has an extremely difficult job; however, lately he has gotten into a regrettable Twitter response defending the highly paid staffers he brought in, and allowed skewed data to be presented that exaggerated improvements made during his tenure. I just hope with all of the challenges the job presents, he never forgets that competition is good, and that it is a guiding principle of our economic structure.
After all, the real mission is to educate all of the students in the county to the best of our ability.
I work at a charter school in the district where all of our students are Exceptional Student Education (ESE). I also understand at a very personal level how necessary charter schools, and ours in particular, are to the needs of our student population.
I hope Superintendent Avossa never loses sight of the ultimate mission, which is to serve the needs of all the students in the county, not block or limit what should be healthy competition.
GEOFFREY THURSTON, JUNO BEACH