Who are the Winners and Losers in School Choice?

Feature of the Week

Feature of the Week

Parents care not only about the quality of education offered but also the mix of children in a school.  How does the premise that “More choice should produce a better educational fit between what parents want for their children and ultimately lead to better educational outcomes” work out over time?

This study published by the National Bureau of Economic Research looks at data from North Carolina.  We all need to understand the consequences of choice.

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The Villages Charter School Removes 140 Students

VillagesHS-1Can you imagine that a public school can tell you to transfer your child to another school because the company you work for no longer is eligible to send children there?

The Villages is an age restricted, gated community in Sumter County with over 100,000 residents–no children allowed.  They have a charter school.  They just told 140 students they can no longer attend.  Something is unreal.Continue reading

Florida Senate Education Committee Workshop on Charters

bill montfordjohn leggIf you want to take the pulse of charter school legislative priorities, watch this video.  It is yesterday’s Florida Senate Education Committee workshop on charters.  They have a long list of proposed bills to consider, and they are looking for ways to combine bills in order to move forward.

The two most comprehensive bills were from Senator Montford and Senator Legg.    Continue reading

Charter School Bills: Going in Different Directions

trojan-horse-277525_1280It is the best of times; it is the worst of times?  SB 1036 and SB SB1038 were filed by Senator Montford of the Senate Education Committee.  The bills could make a real improvement in the management and oversight of charters.  This has been a major priority of the Florida League of Women Voters.

Then there is Senator Legg’s bill.  It has a Trojan horse.

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Toeing the Line at KIPP or Side Stepping a Little?

toesChildren in KIPP schools toe the line.  The schools are interesting because they are so often cited as one of the most successful charter school chains for students from low income, minority families.  Students are recruited from urban schools–some of which have major discipline problems.  KIPP takes these problems head on.  They have high expectations for learning and behavior.  Of course, they have high suspension and attrition rates as well.

The article in this month’s Atlantic reports how KIPP discipline practices are evolving.  Can they realistically move from a no-nonsense approach to a more moderate but equally successful experience for more students?  Or, is this educational approach only for those who can survive?

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Step Back, Take Stock

The blog is one month old.  We can celebrate a little.  Thus far we have had 4500 hits on our site, and our subscriber list is growing.  Let people know.

critical-thinking (2)It is also a good time to take a minute and think.   Are we contributing useful information on school reform issues?   What is helpful?  What is missing?  Reflect on the following list and make suggestions.  I will summarize your suggestions and respond.Continue reading

2013-14 Florida Charter School Enrollments vs. Projections

Of the 46 new charters started in 2013-14 in Florida,  five met or exceeded their enrollment projections.  Click on the link above to find out how the charters in your area fared.

Charters, however are growing.     classroom2

According to the National Alliance for Charter Schools, there are 6400 charter schools enrolling 2.5 million students.  Two hundred charter schools closed nationwide. The National Center for Education Statistics is a good data source for finding facts about many choice programs also including magnet and Title I programs by type of school and level of school.


Slide Show on Privatization of Schools


Miami-Dade did a series of presentations on Florida’s school choice study. Their approach was to consider the unmet needs of children from low income areas.  The ability of charter and private, mostly religious schools to meet those needs are considered.md (2)They discussed problems with the conflicting priorities for-profit charter management companies must face when serving ‘low-cost’ children rather than children whose needs are expensive to meet:  e.g. ESE, ELL and students who struggle academically. The accountability system rewards schools whose students score well on state assessment tests.  This makes charter admissions and dismissal policies subject to scrutiny.

The interrelationship between political and financial support has made conflict of interest concerns a public issue.  The need to justify the inability of the private sector to overcome the achievement gap between students from low-income and higher income families has made the public more aware of the need for more efficient and equitable use of tax payer money.

This league’s approach to a discussion of school choice issues may be helpful for others who are planning similar presentations.

Privatization Bills in Florida


by Lucia Baez

The Miami-Dade League of Women Voters charter school study provides an in-depth examination of the population of students in below median income neighborhoods.

Are charters representing their own communities?

Do charters show significant academic improvement?

Are charters equitably admitting their students and increasing participation of needy students?


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