Quantcast
Connect with us

‘What real journalism looks like’: Orlando Sentinel exposes Florida’s $1 billion school voucher scam

Published

on

The Orlando Sentinel is being praised for a months long investigation on Florida’s school voucher program, inspecting fifty percent more schools than state education officials inspected in all of last year.

The newspapers three-part, Schools Without Rules expose on the state’s nearly $1 billion tax credit scholarship program.

“That is what real journalism looks like — a team of journalists doing shoe-leather reporting, conducting the kind of inspections, investigations and interviews that even the state’s education officials don’t,” Sentinel columnist Scott Maxwell explained. “This little-regulated system needs an overhaul. And the world needs more real journalists.”

Reporters Beth Kassab, Leslie Postal and Annie Martin reported that “private schools in Florida will collect nearly $1 billion in state-backed scholarships this year through a system so weakly regulated that some schools hire teachers without college degrees, hold classes in aging strip malls and falsify fire-safety and health records.”

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos refused to visit any public schools during an August trip to Florida. In March, DeVos joined President Donald Trump in touring a voucher school.

ADVERTISEMENT

“The number of children using the scholarship programs has tripled in the past decade to 140,000 students at nearly 2,000 private schools. Many of those schools, which are subject to little state oversight, are heavily reliant on the state scholarship programs to keep their doors open,” the Sentinel found.

The Sentinal discovered an alarming lack of oversight.

“After Palm Bay Police began investigating principal Samuel Vidal Jr., who was accused last year of lifting the shirt of a 15-year-old student and putting his mouth on her breast, Vidal shut down his private Christian school,” the Sentinel found. “But the police investigation didn’t stop Vidal, 41, from winning approval from the Florida Department of Education to open a new private school in Palm Bay and collect nearly $200,000 in state-backed scholarships. And even after Vidal was charged with felony lewd or lascivious molestation, prompting the state to pull scholarships from the second school, it approved yet another school this year with ties to Vidal.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Maxwell, who writes the Sentinel‘s “Taking Names” column, was openly disgusted by the response to the series by voucher supports.

“If voucher supporters actually cared about the safety and education of these children, they wouldn’t make excuses for all the problems exposed here. They wouldn’t attack the journalists who discovered them,” Maxwell noted. “Whining that the media ignored swell schools to focus on problematic ones is like whining that the media ignore planes that fly safely to report on ones that crash.”

After touring a voucher school with Secretary DeVos, President Trump said he wanted to expand the “great success” of Florida’s program nationwide.

ADVERTISEMENT

Read the entire Orlando Sentinel expose on Florida’s Florida Tax Credit Scholarship and Step Up for Students, which administers most of the scholarships.


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected]. Send news tips to: [email protected]wstory.com.
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

FLASHBACK: Jeffrey Epstein accuser revealed there are tapes of famous men with underage girls

Published

on

A 2015 report is resurfacing on Raw Story as the Jeffrey Epstein trial begins and Washington and New York men fear being outed.

It appears that a series of QAnon Facebook groups and pro-Trump groups were the ones responsible for posting the story.

Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Fox News is so obsessed with Ocasio-Cortez they said her name three times as much as CNN or MSNBC

Published

on

It's clear that Fox News and other right-wing reporters are trying to create boogymen in Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. A new analysis by CNN media reporter Brian Stelter, revealed that the conservative network has said Ocasio-Cortez's name more than CNN and MSNBC combined.

"First, Ocasio-Cortez and her "Squad" mate Ilhan Omar have been talked about a lot more on Fox than on other cable news channels this year," Stelter wrote. "Second, the freshmen have been getting more attention on cable than seasoned leaders of the Democratic Party."

Continue Reading
 

Breaking Banner

Congress should ask Mueller these specific questions about Trump’s involvement with Russia: Conservative columnist

Published

on

Conservative Never-Trump columnist Jennifer Rubin outlined the essential questions that Democrats should ask special counsel Robert Mueller in an op-ed for the Washington Post.

"Rather than engage in the normal scattershot questioning punctuated by speechifying, the House Judiciary Committee should assign its able attorney Norman Eisen to conduct the questioning," proposed Rubin. "Members could then follow up with additional questions.'

One question she proposed asking: "Mr. Mueller, the attorney general said you did not find 'collusion.' However, you did not look for collusion. Please explain what you looked for and how that differs from [Attorney General William] Barr’s assertion that you essentially cleared President Trump of collusion?"

Continue Reading
 
 
 

Copyright © 2019 Raw Story Media, Inc. PO Box 21050, Washington, D.C. 20009 | Masthead | Privacy Policy | For corrections or concerns, please email [email protected]

Join Me. Try Raw Story Investigates for $1. Invest in Journalism. Escape Ads.
close-image