Collier School Board Splits Over Charter Schools

Collier-County_logo-stackedTwo newly elected Collier County school board members have much in common.  Their families started Mason Classical Academy, a charter school.  They tend to vote together.

Other board members take exception to their stance against public schools.  A group of citizens has organized to support public schools.  The battle lines have formed.Continue reading

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

Duval County: School Choice is a False Choice

cash-burningAs charters in Duval County increase, the school district faces a $10 million dollar shortfall.  Should the district give up reading coaches for traditional schools?

The options for balancing the district budget are not good.  If the district draws down its reserve fund, what do they do next year?  The district anticipates that there will be 2,000 new enrollments in charters next fall.  Charters in Duval County have their own challenges.

On the surface, it would appear that Duval County, like many counties, is facing the reality that splitting money with charters means that no one has enough to do what needs to be done.  What is going on?

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Adding New Charter Schools: Will FSU Know Best?

buck stopsWho should approve new charter schools–local districts or the state?   Would a university institute funded by the legislature do a better job?  Now the State Board of Education has the final say.  But, they do not always get it right.

Legislation moving through the Florida House and Senate includes a provision to create the Florida State University Charter School Institute.  It would review charter proposals and conduct evaluation studies.  Will FSU be able to improve the charter authorization process?  Can it evaluate local needs, or do they not matter?  If a form is filled out correctly, is that enough to make a charter school a valuable contribution to a local district?

I watched the April School Board of Education meeting.  A comment was made about how fortunate Florida was to have the DOE, the Governor, and the legislature all on the same school reform page.  Yet, when the attorney for Palm Beach County spoke about denials of charter schools, it is clear that there are practical, important issues that  are too easily dismissed.  Some checks and balances are needed.

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Charter vs. TPS: Latest CREDO Study Results

horse-316959_1280CREDO’s 2015 report on charter achievement in urban areas gives a different twist on the data.  You can find results by urban areas in each state.

I looked at Florida.  Our charters do not do as well as in other states.  The data is broken down by demographics, grade span, across years and annual results from 2007-2011.  Comparisons are made for achievement gains for students in charters and a matched set of students in traditional public schools (TPS) in the areas that charters serve.  And the winners by Florida school district are?

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Florida League of Women Voters Positions on School Choice

lwv florida logoSome of you have been asking about the Florida League positions on school choice.  The positions were formally adopted at the convention last year.  They will be included in Study and Action when it is updated.  The League strongly opposes tax credit scholarships.  The Florida League  supports Florida’s constitution provision for a uniform, efficient, high quality public school system.  While charter schools are legally public schools, the League supports stronger district management and oversight to make them better conform to constitutional requirements.  Specific principles and positions are listed below.

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“Togetherness”, the Anti-Community’s Community?

Divided Community

Divided Community

Now television is in the charter fray.  In this review of the series “Togetherness”, Joshua Leibner in Salon magazine describes its charter school subplot.  Are neighborhood schools the “bogeyman for all of society’s ills?, he asks.  He wonders if for white people of their education and class,  all the education reform nonsense might feel right for minority kids–but just not for their children?  The setting for the series is in Eagle Rock in Los Angeles.  This is a real place where both Leibner and the show’s producers actually live.  Is the show fact or fiction? Continue reading