Tea Partiers started the 5th Hillsdale charter school in Florida – the Treasure Coast Classical Academy (TCCA) in Stuart, Florida, 100 miles north of Miami. The Academy began with K through 2, but is now enrolling through the 7th grade. The activists chose the Hillsdale program because its four other schools in the state have a successful track record and because Hillsdale knows how to get it done. Charter schools are considered public schools. The teachers must be certified and the students must take state tests but, unlike typical public schools, these charter schools offer a “classical education in the liberal arts and sciences, with instruction in the principles of moral character and civic virtue.” People love TCCA and there is a waiting list to get in, Cindy Lucas of the Martin 9/12 Committee told Liberato.US. A driving force in the school choice movement in Florida is the power couple of Erika and Byron Donalds. Erika founded a school choice organization and helped start a Hillsdale charter school. Byron serves on education committees in the state legislature and is running for Congress.
The school Erika helped found – Mason Classical Academy – scored number one in English Language Arts in its county in 2017. Education expert Alex Newman theorized the high score resulted from teaching phonics instead of the ineffective but tragically common whole-sight reading method. Alex wrote an article about the school when he learned he was right.
Alex is co-author of the best-selling education book Crimes of the Educators: How Utopians Are Using Government Schools to Destroy America’s Children. Although he has some caveats, Alex comes down solidly on the side of activists starting their own schools. As he told Liberato.US:
- There is a growing awareness of major deficiencies in regular public schools, and that is causing an increase in activists starting their own schools. This in some ways has similarities with what happened after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against prayer and Bible in school, causing many churches and Christian parents to create private Christian schools. One major danger in the current trend, though, is that these ‘charter’ schools depend on tax money, which subjects them to government control, even while they crowd out truly independent schools from the market. There is also the risk that movements such as the one led by Islamic Imam Gülen can harvest American tax dollars while advancing their agenda with captive children. With that said, considering the indoctrination and dumbing-down that is taking place, I believe it is important for parents to get their children into solid educational programs now–and that means leaving public schools.