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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

L.A. charter schools offer lottery bypass to select families



The rapid expansion of charter schools in Florida and elsewhere has raised many questions, not only about money and influence, but also about whether charters are really little more than publicly-funded private schools.

One criticism often leveled at the charters is that they cream their student body, picking students based on parent involvement, past academic performance or other criteria than the random lottery they should be using. We've heard that contention here locally, although no one has been able to do much more than accuse without offering evidence.

But it's known to happen, and there's now proof in Los Angeles. The LA Times reports today that the LAUSD is reexamining its charter school admission rules after stories emerged of two popular charters that allowed families to bypass lotteries in exchange for providing special services or volunteer hours.


"The practices of Larchmont Charter School and Los Feliz Charter School for the Arts have raised concerns that such preference policies, if allowed, could open the door to well-connected friends or wealthier families who promise to contribute. In effect, critics say, charters could end up functioning more like private schools than campuses almost entirely supported with tax dollars.

"Neither school concealed its enrollment procedures and they were tolerated by the charter school office of the L.A. Unified School District, but exposure of the practices is prompting the Board of Education on Tuesday to consider a ban on such preferences."

Know any schools that operate like that here in Florida, and have anything to back it up, like these schools' policies? We'd love to know.


[Last modified: Tuesday, December 13, 2011 11:11am]


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