Florida high on list of for-profit charter schools
Charter schools are increasingly part of the national education landscape, and Florida remains near the forefront of the movement.
In its latest report on who runs charter schools, the National Education Policy Center at the University of Colorado-Boulder details how Florida was third in the nation in 2011-12 when it came to the number of for-profit education management operations running multiple schools within its borders. Examples include Charter Schools USA, based in Broward County; Academica, based in Miami-Dade; and Virginia-based Imagine Schools.
The state ranked second behind Michigan in the total number of charter schools run by EMO's, either for-profit or non-profit. Florida's number of students in EMO-run charters also was second in the nation.
Much of the growth, according to the NEPC, is tied to the rise of virtual charter schools. Lead author Gary Miron, a professor of evaluation, measurement and research at Western Michigan University, questioned the value of these schools in a press release delivering the report:
“There is growth in number of schools and students served in both for-profit and nonprofit sectors, although growth among schools operated by nonprofit EMOs continues to outpace the for-profit sector. Growth has slowed for for-profits in brick-and-mortar school settings. The real growth in the for-profit sector is with companies that operate virtual schools. The growth of virtual schools, which is fueled by millions in advertising dollars, is astounding because of the sketchy academic results reported by the schools that operate online.”