Districts state that budgets are inadequate to meet all student needs. Children in poverty and the high rate of homelessness require more funding to provide tutoring, time and behavioral support. However, the defense argues:
Which states get it right? Not Florida. It was one of eight states that received an overall grade of ‘F’ when its grades were averaged across the categories studied. The Network for Public Education rated states based on six criteria.
For each category, I combined the percentages of A, B and C grades received across states. I was surprised at the results. Relatively few states (11) use test scores to punish students and teachers, but Florida is one of those that do. You can see the combined percentages (think of them as passing scores) at the end of each of the criteria.
Equity means providing resources, not just equally, but adequately for all children to succeed. There is no ‘one size fits all’ curriculum. Yet, there is a tension between providing opportunity for all students, regardless of their backgrounds, and the efficient allocation of limited resources. School choice was supposed to give better options, but too often, the choices are no different and ineffective.
The Citizens for Strong Schools lawsuit in Florida is about equity, but this is also a national issue. I found a blue ribbon panel report that addresses equity and provides direction for educational policy.
In time, Florida may be required to focus on these six directions. They give us a vision of what could be.
Comparisons between traditional public and charter schools have little meaning. In an article entitled: Making School Choice Easier in today’s New York Times, charter school operators made concrete proposals to improve charter school achievement data.
Representatives of New Visions for Public Schools offer four ways to help parents make more informed decisions about the effectiveness of charter schools. New Visions are charter schools located in New York. They are non-profit.
There are times when, under the guise of flexibility, school choice is simply a way to avoid laws designed to protect the interests of children. Class size was mandated by voters in 2002 in the Florida constitution. Charters were able to use a school average class size but not district schools.
Laws implementing the amendment should be applied to all schools in the same way. They are not. Schools of Choice play by different rules. Districts want the same flexibility as charter schools. They found a way, but now Senator Legg wants to close that option for school districts.
Sorting out hype vs. evidence can be a challenge. The latest American Enterprise Institute report: Measuring Diversity in Charter School Offerings claims that charters should be expanded. In fact, deregulation of charters increases diversity in charter offerings. See what you think after you read the review from N.E.P.C.
Are the results for the 2013-14 data different?
Chartrand makes a case that getting children from poor families out of public schools saves the rest of us money. There may be another not so hidden agenda that Chartrand forgets to mention.
What does ‘fairness’ mean? School Funding Fairness shows how policies differ in a state by state report.
Florida gets it ‘half right’. How does your state rank?
Are 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.