Education Industry Failure Florida For-Profit Vouchers

Billy Townsend: Voucher Grifters, Take Mary McLeod Bethune’s Good Name Out of Your Mouths

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Billy Townsend is outraged that the Florida’s voucher industry has the nerve to name its new super voucher program after one of the nation’s (and Florida’s) greatest civil rights leaders.

He writes that Mary McLeod Bethune:

…would look at Florida’s corrupt, failed, and yet lavishly-funded low income school voucher programs with disgust.

She would marvel and protest the squandered voucher billions in corporate tax shelter money and direct tax money. She would object to Doug Tuthill and Step Up for Students getting rich through massive commissions, while scamming millions of kids and building no meaningful private capacity to provide quality education to low income children — or anyone else. She would ask: how does anyone whose heavily segregated, low income voucher programs have two- and three-year drop out rates of 60 and 75 percent have a job?

Mary McLeod Bethune would look with horror at the voucher betrayal of the descendants of her first students. She would not want thousands of black Florida children chased by useless public school testing into brutally substandard, unaccredited, unsupervised, segregated “schools,” which is what Florida’s voucher programs provide. She would not want her name associated with such failure, grift, and incompetence….

Astonishingly, Step Up for Students and various Florida grifters, the people who created and maintain this colossal racist voucher grift, have made it much worse in the last year. They are now desperately trying to launder their failure and incompetence by putting Mary McLeod Bethune’s name on Florida’s disastrous new super voucher grift pot of money.

They’re trying to Bethune-wash.

But I assure you, in 2021 America, Mary McLeod Bethune would not want her good name attached to “Preparing the Way Academy” in Lakeland …

Or “A’Kelynn’s Angels Christian Academy” in Winter Haven, where the state shut down a Pre-K of the same name because it was substandard, but the voucher grift rolls on unabated….

Step Up for Students is the unelected state School Board for vouchers. But it performs no oversight — at all. It just hands out checks and pockets commission.

Last legislative session, Step Up worked closely with Florida legislators like Kelli Stargel and Gov. Ron DeSantis to destroy the well-established Gardiner and McKay voucher programs for children with disabilities. While those programs — particularly Gardiner — had some grifty problems, they also functioned a million times better than the atrocity of unsupervised grift that is Florida’s low income voucher program.

Florida’s GOP-dominated government, in its corrupt wisdom, took these functioning programs, and threw them together with low income vouchers with one giant super-voucher pot of grift.

The effect of this is to funnel tax money and tax-sheltered corporate donations away from children with disabilities and to the operators of segregated scam schools like Preparing the Way, A’kelynn’s Angels, and Endtimes Christian School of Excellence.

On top of that, Step Up has thoroughly botched implementation of the new super-voucher grift pot. Parents of kids with disabilities, who were told they would still get Gardiner and McKay-like vouchers for services, are finding Step Up is too incompetent to deliver…

William Mattox and Doug Tuthill: Critical Race Theorists

Tuthill and company want to name the super voucher pot of grift after Florida’s greatest educator and racial freedom activist. They want to use her honored memory as a shield.

Mired in a systemic meltdown entirely of their own making, reflecting their own greed and incompetence, Tuthill and Step Up are doing what they always do when they get in trouble. They’re retreating to their long-standing, hard core version of “Critical Race Theory.” It goes like this:

If you’re a parent — of any kind — who likes quality public schools or quality state-funded services for disabilities — and you don’t want resources diverted from those services so grifters can scam families of color at scale, you’re the real racist.

This CRT has worked many times for Tuthill before. It’s been the refrain of the entire Jeb Bush era. The shameless appropriation of Mary McLeod Bethune is just the latest incarnation…

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