A new national report places Florida just above the middle of the pack for the overall health of its charter school movement. What the new report by the National Alliance of Public Charter Schools shows is that, despite consistent growth by charter schools in Florida, the schools have lagged on quality, diversity and innovation.
Using data through 2010-11, the report found that charter schools in Florida were producing lower academic growth in reading and the same academic growth in math as traditional public schools. However, the report noted that a May report from the Florida Department of Education showed stronger results.
It also showed that only about 1 in 6 state charter schools use practices the group deems “innovative,” although innovation is supposed to be one of the hallmarks of charter schools. The group measured use of longer school days, years and year-round calendars, among other practices. The schools also serve fewer special education students than typical schools, although they do serve a more racially diverse population.
The same pro-charter school group also publishes a report that shows how well aligned state laws are to their model law. Florida ranks 8 out of 43 on that scale.
A group representing school districts and others who promote accountability for charter schools praised the report for considering factors that go beyond a state’s friendliness to charter school operators.