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Wednesday, Sep 20, 2017
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Steve Otto Columns

Otto: When it comes to Florida schools, maybe it's time to start over

Let's shut down the public schools in Florida.

What a great idea, and one that's time has definitely come.

First of all, who needs them? There are plenty of private schools around. Charter schools are opening every day, and if your kid can't afford a private school, there must be a voucher or grant of some kind to get the little booger in.

These days there seems little point in going to a public school and just sitting there taking tests when your child can be out there in the real world working part-time jobs and contributing while learning a trade at the same time.

I mean, if you can't afford a private school, teach them at home. Take them to work with you.

Talk about savings! We're not dealing in millions here; the annual savings could ultimately wind up in the billions.

How many billions of dollars are Floridians being asked to put out for these last-century institutions?

Just getting rid of the employees — and there are about 325,000 of them — would be a huge savings. And if we get rid of the teachers, who are averaging about $45,000 a year, we won't have to use all of that other money on books and pencils and iPads and stuff.

Of course, we're still stuck with those 500 or so charter schools. But if they make it, they make it; otherwise, it's no skin off our noses.

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By the way, have you visited a public school in Florida in recent years? Many of them have serious physical and structural problems. I've seen state prisons in better shape.

Some could be salvaged and turned into nursing homes, but the rest we can bulldoze over.

We ought to save a fortune by just getting rid of all those school buses. They weren't exactly state-of-the-art, either. You felt like attaching a GPS to your kid every time you sent him off on the bus in case the driver decided to escape across the border.

Schools do seem kind of a waste of time when the state is bringing in those warehouse data centers where all you have to do is fill in the spaces. Most kids learn that on their smartphones.

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I mean, what do we really have to loseother than Friday night football ... gonna miss that.

But education-wise, don't most of our smart kids leave the state and go somewhere else to college? Why not let the other states pay for those students early on instead of just collecting them when they are ready for college?

In fact, if we closed the public schools it might cut down on all those people moving here with their families. We wouldn't have to keep building more roads and homes.

Wonder what they'll do with all that “mystery meat” we used to get in the cafeteria on Thursdays? Maybe they could donate it to some third-world country.

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The only problem I see is we'll create a massive glut of unemployed teachers roaming the country with no apparent abilities, knocking on your doors looking to tutor or fix your roof.

OK, so some of you may think I'm kidding about all of this, and you would be right.

But if you've been paying attention to the boneheads in state government, it's easy to wonder if maybe we wouldn't be better off just chucking the whole thing and starting over.

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