Florida Can Learn from Ohio: Charter reforms that can make a difference

ohioOhio has had as many or more charter school scandals than Florida.  Maybe that is what it take to the Legislature’s attention.  Ohio’s House and Senate have passed charter reform bills that are stronger than Florida’s.  The charter industry is pushing back.  The legislature needs to reconcile the two bills.  Will they?

The reforms are strong and meaningful.  Florida can learn from Ohio.  Here are some specifics Florida needs to consider.

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Sweden Shows U.S. How to Fail

sweden dalahorse-714901_1280Back in the 90s, Sweden had free Pre K for all students.  There was no selective admissions.  Everyone went to public schools.  The system thrived, and their first PISA achievement scores were very high.

Then the Swedes bought into school choice.  They have the greatest decline in achievement of any OECD nation.   What happened?  We can learn from them.

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Statistics Don’t Tell It All: A Story About Two Michigan Schools

bee-705412_1280Some of us believe in data.  I usually do.  They tell stories unless you read closely.  Here is a story of two schools that seem to be the same, but one excelled in third grade reading and the other did not.  None of the usual reasons apply.

It is time to read closely.

There is a bumble bee in the story that gives us hope.  Hope matters.

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Meredith Machen sent this link from Education Justice.

justiceReliable sources of information are not easy to find.  Here is one I find very useful.  It has state-by-state links with information about recent legal cases and publishes newsletters on education issues with legal implications.

The one that follows pinpoints misleading information that is published in the media.  It breaks down achievement comparisons to show what scores tell us about how charters play the achievement game.

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Charters in Perspective: A Quick Quiz and Answers

compare-643305_1280Are you aware of the Spencer Foundation’s Charter in Perspective Project?  Issues are presented from different perspectives e.g. parental choice, preservation of public schools, and test beds for innovation.

Just for fun, here are some quick questions drawn from information on the site.




  • What percentage of students are enrolled in charter schools in the U.S.?  What is the percentage in New Orleans?
  • Is public opinion about charter schools well informed?
  • On average, how do traditional and charter students compare on achievement gains?

If you prefer a Common Core critical thinking question, you might ask:

  • How would you account for the difference between the reasons parents give for sending children to charters and the charters parents actually select?

The answers and much more follow.

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Florida Judge’s Decision “No Harm No Foul” Appealed

justiceWhen something is wrong, do you ignore it or fix it?  The Florida Education Association, the PTA and the Florida League of Women Voters said vouchers by any name are wrong and filed suit.  A Leon County circuit judge disallowed the suit for lack of standing.  Basically, this means that the attorneys did not convince the judge that tax credit scholarships harmed public schools.  Is this a no harm, no foul issue?  The FEA attorneys say ‘NO’.

The judge did not rule on the merits of the case.  Floridians  have already voted overwhelmingly to disallow funding for private schools.  Vouchers are not roses, and the smell of tax credit scholarships is not sweet.  The FEA has appealed the case.  What are the merits?

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