The 2015 Florida legislature tied charter capital outlay funds to their academic success. Charters have privately owned school facilities paid for from public funds. The new rules would disallow facility funding not only for charters that have consecutive failing grades but also for those with consecutive ‘D’ school grades. The rule affects thirteen charters with consecutive ‘D’ grades. Charter owners are protesting. An administrative judge has agreed with them, and they will get their money. How much? $408,500 since school began this fall. Multiply it out and it would be over a million and a half dollars per year for 13 schools.
Let’s think about this. Charters located in low income areas are given more facility money. Public schools facility funding located in the same areas has steadily declined for years. If the State shifts money from publically owned schools to privately owned failing charters, who wins? Not the children.
Suppose a charter operating in the same neighborhood has a higher school grade than the local public school. Is the charter doing a better job? Or, do they enroll fewer children with learning disabilities? Do they dismiss children who do not ‘fit their school norms’. Do they draw the children from families at a higher income level? It is no secret that if you want a higher performing school, select higher performing students to begin with. This is a process called ‘creaming’. These schools do not make students better, the students make the schools better.
What does make students better? more time in school, tutors, support services, and good teachers and principals
Giving charters rent money is a much cheaper way to go. The problem is that nothing changes for most kids who need a place to go. School choice just moves children around; they go in circles leading nowhere. We could fix this.