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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Don't knock charter schools, advocate says



There's been much said in state media about the negative side of Florida's charter schools -- reports of poor performance, money-making schemes, cozy relations between politicians and charter operators.

It's a misleading message, writes the Cheri Shannon, CEO of a new charter school alliance with connections to Jeb Bush's education foundation, several charter firms, and state and national school choice and voucher advocacy groups.

"Let’s not lose sight of the bigger picture. Charter schools are here because they are meeting the needs of students and parents. This fall marked the opening of 76 new charter schools across the state, a clear sign that parents are exercising their option to send their kids to the high-quality public school of their choice. This demand is further driven home by a recent Gallup/Phi Delta Kappa International Poll that found charter schools are garnering a 70 percent public approval rating. This is because charter schools produce results and if they don’t, they are closed."

It has been said that charter schools themselves are not the problem, but rather the for-profit management company model that has swarmed Florida as opposed to the locally-run variety. Some critics contend, though, that these are little more than private schools run with public funds, a drain on the traditional school system.

Read Shannon's full commentary as it appeared in today's Miami Herald. Then feel free to weigh in on the pros and cons of charter schools.

[Last modified: Monday, January 2, 2012 1:50pm]


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