What a difference three months makes. In July, after New Times published a feature exposing a disastrous lack of oversight in a $150-million-a-year taxpayer-funded voucher program for disabled kids, Florida Department of Education honcho Michael Kooi said this newspaper "should be ashamed" of its reporting.
Now, after getting grilled by House Representatives amid a growing number of high-ranking voices calling for change in the program, Kooi himself is joining the Florida Board of Education in recommending more oversight measures be added in the upcoming legislature.
The board is calling for more stringent background checks and basic audits to ensure that students are learning something. The measures don't address all of the programs flaws-- most notably the inability to pay any significant number of site visits to McKay schools-- but hey: baby steps.
Last week, Riptide was able to interview Kooi for the first time. Here's the transcript of our chat, edited for brevity.More »