Who 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.