Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Watchdog organization questions Florida’s charter school closure rate

A national group that investigates what it deems corruption that undermines democracy is calling attention to the high rate of charter school closures in Florida.

The Wisconsin-based Center for Media and Democracy has issued data showing that since 2000, 491 of 1,091 Florida charter schools have closed their doors. That's 38 percent, which is 7 points higher than the national average.

The Florida Department of Education shows 389 charters have closed, not 491. Officials noted that at least 40 of the schools merged and did not shut down.

"For example, The Villages Charter School in Sumter County used to be three separate schools (elementary, middle, high). They merged into a single K-12, and two the school numbers were inactivated and now show as closed," department spokeswoman Cheryl Etters said via email.

Center researcher David Armiak called the rate of closures "alarming," and said it raises concerns about the performance and accountability of charters, which operate with state funding but do not follow all the same laws as district schools.

Charter school supporters have said the charters are held accountable, in that they can be forced to close if they earn a D or F in state grading for two consecutive years. Charter school students take the same state tests as students in district schools.

The Center observed that the closures disproportionately affected minority students. Forty-seven percent of students in the closed schools were black, while more than half qualified for free and reduced-price meals.

The Center has raised several questions in the past about charter schools and how they might be used as a method to subvert traditional public education. In 2017, it wrote about how the federal government continued to pour millions of dollars into the "charter school black hole" in Florida and other states.

NOTE: This post has been updated to reflect additional information provided by the Florida Department of Education.

Comments
Pasco school district, employees inch closer to contract terms

Pasco school district, employees inch closer to contract terms

Differences over pay raises remain the primary remaining hurdle.
Updated: 1 hour ago
Florida education news: K-12 funding, college access, school naming and more

Florida education news: K-12 funding, college access, school naming and more

A roundup of stories from around the state.
Updated: 3 hours ago
Nearly 100 ideas to rename Tampa’s Lee Elementary

Nearly 100 ideas to rename Tampa’s Lee Elementary

From the obvious to the ironic and back again, Hillsborough residents racked their collective brains to find the best new name for Lee Elementary School.MaryEllen Elia was suggested, for the last superintendent.But that won't happen. A newly revised ...
Published: 11/13/18
USF and other Florida universities join nationwide effort to improve college access

USF and other Florida universities join nationwide effort to improve college access

Together, they will "create a playbook of adaptable student success reforms," USF said.
Published: 11/13/18
Supporters defend Pasco principal accused of stealing $900 from a student

Supporters defend Pasco principal accused of stealing $900 from a student

Days after the arrest of Connerton Elementary principal John Abernathy, accused of stealing $900 from a student with special needs, "Team John" began lobbying the school district to keep the veteran administrator on the job.Superintendent Kurt Browni...
Published: 11/13/18
Florida superintendents association adopts legislative platform

Florida superintendents association adopts legislative platform

Funding plays a key role in several of the recommendations.
Published: 11/13/18
Florida education news: Prekindergarten, parent pushback, school board races and more

Florida education news: Prekindergarten, parent pushback, school board races and more

A roundup of stories from around the state.
Published: 11/13/18
Hudson Elementary staff, families hope to halt proposal to close school

Hudson Elementary staff, families hope to halt proposal to close school

The Pasco County superintendent has recommended shutting down the campus in 2021.
Published: 11/12/18
Florida education news: School funding, board members, student testing and more

Florida education news: School funding, board members, student testing and more

A roundup of stories from around the state.
Published: 11/12/18
Florida voters are saying yes when school districts ask for more money. Is that a good thing?

Florida voters are saying yes when school districts ask for more money. Is that a good thing?

Hillsborough County school superintendent Jeff Eakins takes a clear message from last week's election, which saw many Floridians vote to tax themselves more to help public schools meet rising costs.People see the challenges firsthand and "they know t...
Published: 11/12/18