Monday, November 12, 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
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.
Updated: 10 hours ago
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
Linda Lerner steps away after 28 years on the Pinellas School Board. ‘I wanted to make things better for everybody’

Linda Lerner steps away after 28 years on the Pinellas School Board. ‘I wanted to make things better for everybody’

Linda Lerner, one of Florida's longest-serving school officials with nearly three decades on the Pinellas County School Board, will step down Tuesday, leaving her seat for one of three new members elected last week.The decision was difficult, Lerner ...
Published: 11/12/18
ICYMI: Florida education news in review, week of Nov. 5, 2018

ICYMI: Florida education news in review, week of Nov. 5, 2018

Can Florida’s courts determine what a “high quality” education system looks like? Or is that too subjective a term? The Florida Supreme Court has that question before it, as it determines whether a 9-year-old school funding adequacy...
Published: 11/10/18
President of Ybor City’s Hillsborough Community College campus will step down, return to teaching

President of Ybor City’s Hillsborough Community College campus will step down, return to teaching

Shawn Robinson, president of Hillsborough Community College's Ybor City campus since 2007, is stepping down to return to teaching.In an email announcing the news Friday, Robinson said "it is time for a change." He will relocate to the college's Brand...
Published: 11/09/18
How did all those Florida school board races turn out?

How did all those Florida school board races turn out?

Twenty-seven percent of incumbents either resigned or lost.
Published: 11/09/18
New Florida House education leader named

New Florida House education leader named

Mount Dora Republican Rep. Jennifer Sullivan is a vocal backer of school choice programs.
Published: 11/09/18
Florida education news: Funding lawsuit, school names, missing money and more

Florida education news: Funding lawsuit, school names, missing money and more

A roundup of stories from around the state.
Published: 11/09/18
Hillsborough County School District will consider renaming Lee Elementary

Hillsborough County School District will consider renaming Lee Elementary

Tampa, let's name that school.With the Hillsborough County School Board committed to rebuilding fire-ravaged Lee Elementary, the time has come to decide what to call it.Students, parents and teachers call the place "Lee." But the full name on the red...
Published: 11/08/18
Updated: 11/09/18