In a previous article, we wrote about how every 20 years a Florida Constitution Revision Commission (CRC) convenes to review and propose changes in the Florida constitution. The CRC refers constitutional amendments directly to the ballot for a public vote.
Amendment 8 is one of the most controversial amendments to be on the ballot, because it involves education.
While Amendment 8, as it is called, sets term limits of eight years for school board members and requires the legislature to provide for the promotion of civic literacy in public schools, the amendment “maintains a school board’s duties to public schools it establishes, but permits the state to operate, control, and supervise public schools they did not establish.”
It effectively means charter schools can be set up in a district, but since they were not established by the district, the local school board has no authority over them. There would still be no local authority, since oversight would be done by a different state institution.
Is this an attempt to circumvent local control of education and since it is a very meaningful activity should Tallahassee control it?
So what does Shawn Frost, Chairman of the school board for the School District of Indian River County, have to do with Amendment 8?
Shawn Frost is the Chairman of the School District of Indian River County school board; he is a founding member of the Florida Coalition of School Board Members (CSMB) and was President of the Board of Directors in 2017; he owns and is a senior strategy consultant at MVP Strategy & Policy LLC and he is opening a charter school in Martin County.
In 2015 Mr. Frost sought out “like-minded” school board members from other counties and founded the Coalition of School Board Members (CSBM).
“FCSBM works to empower parents to make informed decisions about where their children will attend schools, and strongly supports the expansion of school choice initiatives.”
It supports the expansion of choice options for Florida students and families, enhancement of local control with state-level accountability,
“FCSBM affirms the importance of local control by accountable elected school board members…”
Questions or Media Requests: Shawn Frost (850) 391-0421 or via email
[Commissioner Erika Donalds, one of the sponsors of Amendment 8 was a featured speaker for a CSBM Constitution Revision Commission Roundtable Wednesday October 25, 2017.]
CSBM revenue (dues) for the year ending 12/31/16 was $ 17,860. Expenses for program services was $ 14,251.
Mr. Frost owns and is a senior strategy consultant at MVP Strategy & Policy LLC (MVP).
According to the MVP website, “We specialize in School Board Races and won 100% of our races in 2014…. And 100% in 2016. We are addicted to winning and allergic to losing. These methods are proven, but every race is different. We are your best shot at a short and inexpensive path to victory.”
MVP’s primary business is electing school board members. But they vet them first with a questionnaire on their website.
“Please complete the following 10 simple questions to see if it makes sense to move forward. There is no obligation by applicant or MVP to work together. Once completed, we will review and see if there is a space in a cohort match.”
Mr. Frost is a founding member of Coalition of School Board Members (CSBM) and owner of MVP.
From the CSBM website:
2017 School Board Member Preference Survey
“Do you want to know if School Board Members across Florida support term limits or if they think Superintendents of Schools should be appointed or elected? The best way to find out is to complete this 2017 School Board Member Preference Survey and receive a copy of the aggregated results.
The Florida Coalition of School Board Members has commissioned this survey to be conducted by MVP Strategy and Policy (emphasis added) to gain a clearer understanding of the interests and attitudes of today’s leading education policy makers. Please take a few minutes to answer the following questions. Let’s get started.”
From a trusted source relative to MVP being commissioned.
Then there’s this:
A new “classical” charter school, Treasure Coast Classical Academy, was approved by the Martin County School Board in April, 2018 and is set to open next fall. Efforts to open the school were led by Erika Donalds, a Collier County School Board member and Shawn Frost, chairman of the School District of Indian River County School Board.
“We’re committed to success, and we have the experience to make it happen,” said Shawn Frost, who is on the academy’s board of directors.
Treasure Coast Classical Academy will be the fourth Florida school, and 18th nationwide, established through the Hillsdale College Barney Charter School Initiative.
Hillsdale College is a conservative college in Michigan that has graduated a multitude of influential right-wing political and business leaders, including Blackwater founder Erik Prince who House investigators have grilled about whether he tried to help the Trump administration backchannel with the Russians.
Prince is also the brother of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.
Hillsdale College is aligned with the wealthy family of Secretary Betsy DeVos.
Texas-based IDEA Public Schools and Miami-based Somerset Academy, an affiliate of state charter giant Academica, received the board’s unanimous support to establish charter schools in communities where the district public schools routinely perform poorly on state tests and local improvement plans do not bring change.
We’re excited to serve these communities in Florida,’ said Dan Fishman, vice president of growth at IDEA.
He said his group had been meeting with civic leaders in Tampa and Jacksonville, among other cities, to determine where a school might be most needed.
IDEA plans to open four charter schools in Florida in August 2021, Fishman told the board. Chairwoman Marva Johnson asked why it would take so long, to which Fishman said it takes time to hire staffers, find property, build schools and prepare a viable academic program.
[IDEA Public Schools believes that each and every child can go to college. Since 2001, IDEA Public Schools has grown from a small school with 150 students to the fastest-growing network of tuition-free, Pre-K-12 public charter schools in the United States. https://www.ideapublicschools.org/our-story]
Then, according to a June 15, 2018 article in the Miami Herald, Gov. Rick Scott signed the charter-school-friendly, $419 million K-12 public schools bill that has incited a groundswell of criticism and opposition statewide, rejecting arguments from traditional public school advocates. [HB 7069)
$140 million in the new “schools of hope” program signed into law as HB 7069, would be used to provide extra funding for up to 25 low-performing traditional public schools. The rest of the funding would go to “hope operators,” who could set up charter schools within five miles of “persistently” low-performing public schools. (Source: Florida Politics / 10.19.17)
All this raises questions:
- Is Shawn Frost’s documented advocacy of charter schools an ethical conflict with his position as Chairman of the Indian River County School District?
- Shawn Frost is a founding member of the Florida Coalition of School Board Members (CSMB) and was its President of the Board of Directors in 2017. CSMB commissioned a survey to be conducted by Mr. Frost’s company MVP Strategy and Policy LLC. for ~ $ 18K. Is this another ethical conflict for a founder of one organization have its organization spend a serious percentage of their revenue on consulting services from a company the founder owns?
- The business of MVP is to recruit, select and help elect selected school board members. So from a MVP perspective, term limits make sense. Is Mr. Frost’s support of term limits align with his MVP business model? The more school board candidates the more clients.
- Mr. Frost, in supporting Amendment 8, “maintains a school board’s duties to public schools it establishes, but permits the state to operate, control, and supervise public schools they did not establish.” This eases the way for charter schools to set up business. Will it then allow Mr. Frost to open new charter schools and become a management company?
- What does Mr. Frost’s endeavors and Amendment 8 in general mean to “traditional” Florida public education?
School districts in the State of Florida. Snipeview.com