The Center for Popular Democracy is calling for a moratorium on the expansion of charter schools. Their report “Florida Charters fall short on State Assessments was just released. This is a report to which the LWVF contributed. The data indicate:
- Charters have increased enrollment by 172%. They comprise approximately ten percent of the Florida K12 student population, yet:
- Charters have failed to live up to the mandate for high quality standards in student achievement due to lack of proper oversight.
- Background checks on charter owners are inadequate, and there is no provision for disqualifications due to problematic disclosure findings.
- Seventy million dollars have been lost due to charters that closed shortly after opening.
- Charter boards should be required to be run by local representatives.
- Charters and districts should collaborate and provide detailed and transparent data on student selection, discipline, and dismissals.
- Charters enrollment is 51% of disadvantaged students compared to 70% in public schools.
- Data on charter teacher education, certification status, and student to staff ratios should be included in a more comprehensive accountability system.
The focus on Florida’s charter industry is not only because it is relatively large, it also has a high failure rate. Corporate self dealing, lax legislation on conflict of interest, and a history of personal ties to charters for key legislative positions in public education has made correcting charter management problems difficult. The evidence is mounting. See also AlterNet’s report: New Reports Reveal The Big Charter School Accountability Lie.