Monday, June 18, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: Don't let failing schools off the hook

The argument that Imagine Charter School in St. Petersburg should not be closed for poor student performance because other failing public schools are doing even worse is not persuasive. The performance at all of those schools, including Imagine, is not acceptable. The Pinellas School Board was right to shut down Imagine's elementary program, and the board members and superintendent Mike Grego should be just as aggressive in their efforts to improve the other schools.

Charter schools are about offering parents options. The schools run by private groups — some for-profit, some not — collect per-student funding just like public schools but are freed from many of the requirements placed on traditional public schools. Charter schools, for example, have looser requirements for complying with the state's class-size limits. Their students still take the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test and are assessed under the state's accountability system. And that has been the downfall of Imagine Charter's K-5 program. (The school's grade 6-8 program is not closing.)

Since opening in 2008, the K-5 program has collected just one grade above an F, a D in 2011. Performance on this year's FCAT suggests its 2013 grade will be just as abysmal. There also have been other concerns about Imagine, including the high rent it pays its parent company for its facility in St. Petersburg.

Most concerning for parents, of course, is that the majority of the 243 children affected by the Imagine closure are zoned for similarly failing public schools, including two under state supervision, as a Tampa Bay Times article detailed Thursday. But keeping one more poor-performing provider in the mix isn't a solution. Grego, still shy of his first anniversary as superintendent, has begun marshaling forces in hopes of turning those schools around, including switching out teachers and principals, launching an innovative summer school that has attracted several thousand students, and after-school programs for struggling students. But the district should be on notice. Poor performance that is not acceptable at a charter school is just as unacceptable at other public schools.

Comments

Editorial: ATF should get tougher on gun dealers who violate the law

Gun dealers who break the law by turning a blind eye to federal licensing rules are as dangerous to society as people who have no right to a possess a firearm in the first place. Yet a recent report shows that the federal agency responsible for polic...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Editorial: Encouraging private citizens to step up on transit

Editorial: Encouraging private citizens to step up on transit

The new grass-roots effort to put a transportation package before Hillsborough County voters in November faces a tough slog. Voters rejected a similar effort in 2010, and another in 2016 by elected officials never made it from the gate. But the lates...
Published: 06/15/18
Editorial: 40 years later, honoring remarkable legacy of Nelson Poynter

Editorial: 40 years later, honoring remarkable legacy of Nelson Poynter

Forty years ago today, Nelson Poynter died. He was the last individual to own this newspaper, and to keep the Times connected to this community, he did something remarkable. He gave it away.In his last years, Mr. Poynter recognized that sooner or lat...
Published: 06/15/18

There was no FBI anti-Trump conspiracy

The Justice Department released Thursday the highly anticipated report on the FBI’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email probe and other sensitive issues in the 2016 election. It is not the report President Donald Trump wanted. But there is enough i...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Voter purge may be legal, but it’s also suppression

The Supreme Court’s ruling last Monday to allow Ohio’s purging of its voter rolls is difficult to dispute legally. While federal law prohibits removing citizens from voter rolls simply because they haven’t voted, Ohio’s purge is slightly different. T...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Editorial: Free rides will serve as a test of whether the streetcar is serious transportation

Who wouldn’t jump at the chance to ride for free?This fall, the TECO Streetcar Line eliminates its $2.50-a-ride-fare, providing the best opportunity yet to see whether the system’s vintage streetcar replicas can serve as a legitimate transportation a...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

AT&T and the case for digital innovation

A good way to guarantee you’ll be wrong about something is to predict the future of technology. As in, "One day, we’ll all …" Experts can hazard guesses about artificial intelligence, driverless cars or the death of cable television, but technologica...
Published: 06/14/18
Editorial: State, nonprofits share obligation to help Hillsborough’s foster kids

Editorial: State, nonprofits share obligation to help Hillsborough’s foster kids

The Florida Department of Children and Families has correctly set a quick deadline for Hillsborough County’s main child welfare provider to correct its foster care program. For too long the same story has played out, where troubled teens who need fos...
Published: 06/14/18
Editorial: Educate voters on Amendment 4 and restoring felons’ rights

Editorial: Educate voters on Amendment 4 and restoring felons’ rights

This fall voters will have 13 constitutional amendments to wade through on the ballot, but Amendment 4 should get special focus. It represents a rare opportunity to rectify a grievous provision in the Florida Constitution, which permanently revokes t...
Published: 06/13/18
Updated: 06/14/18
Editorial: How Florida and the Trump administration are tampering with your health care

Editorial: How Florida and the Trump administration are tampering with your health care

The Trump administration just can’t stop sabotaging Americans’ access to health care. Instead of giving up after it failed to persuade Congress to repeal the Affordable Care Act, it continues to quietly undermine the law in ways that would reduce acc...
Published: 06/12/18
Updated: 06/15/18