1. Gradebook

Charter schools outperform district schools, Florida Education department says

The information comes from an annual state report that only recently started getting publicized.
In this 2016 photo, students at Kid's Community College charter school in Riverview make their way from recess. [CHRIS URSO   |   Times]
In this 2016 photo, students at Kid's Community College charter school in Riverview make their way from recess. [CHRIS URSO | Times]
Published Mar. 25, 2019
Updated Mar. 25, 2019

Florida education commissioner Richard Corcoran is touting a newly released annual charter school performance report as proof the option to district-operated schools are a success.

Among the details, the report showed students enrolled in charter schools demonstrated higher rates of grade level performance than their traditional school peers in In 63 of 77 comparison points, and a higher percentage of charter schools earned A’s in state grading (47 percent) than district schools (28 percent).

“There is simply no denying that choice works, particularly for minority and low-income students," Corcoran, a strong advocate for charter school expansion, said in a press statement touting the results.

“These results represent hundreds of thousands of Florida families who were empowered to make the best education decisions for their children and are reaping the benefits,” he continued. "Gov. DeSantis has made bold choice-related proposals leading into the 2019 Legislative Session, and this report provides further evidence that they are right for Florida.”

The Department of Education has issued this report each year since 2008. It generated very little attention until recently, when state leaders began highlighting the data in press releases. The trends have remained fairly steady over that time frame, from the slightly better performance on state tests among charter schools, to the higher percentage of Hispanic children in them.

In 2017, the Miami Herald took a closer look at some of the statistics, and found a couple of explanations.

One that often crops up in such discussions is the notion that children whose families make an active education choice, including to go to charter schools, are more involved in the schooling and would tend toward encouraging better outcomes. Another is that charters’ demographics don’t match up with the district schools, which tend to have higher percentages of low-income and disabled students.

Hialeah lawmaker Manny Diaz, now chairman of the Senate Education Committee, told the Herald at the time that such comparisons, though, miss the bigger picture: Choices are individual, and what’s good for one child might not be best for the next.

And for those who choose charters, they seem to be working.


  1. Harrison Peters, Chief of Schools in Hillsborough County, has landed a job as superintendent in Providence, R.I. [HCPS  |  Handout]
    Peters will become a turnaround superintendent at a troubled district.
  2. Gov. Ron DeSantis. [STEVE CANNON  |  AP]
    Florida students will read more classical literature and learn math differently, according to summary documents.
  3. Janessa Horsford, 5, says goodbye to her parents, Julytsa and Nigel Horsford, on her first day of kindergarten at Lake Magdalene Elementary School.
    A roundup of stories from around the state.
  4. Miranda Harwood, a fourth-grade math teacher at Brooker Elementary School, is the Hillsborough County Teacher of the Year. [Hillsborough County Public Schools]
    The self-described “data queen” uses humor to keep her students engaged.
  5. Check for the latest breaking news and updates. [Times]
    Five girls and one boy will face charges after lunchtime fights disrupted the Pasco County campus, according to the school district.
  6. State Rep. Erin Grall, R-Vero Beach, presents legislation to create a new chapter of Florida law dedicated to parents' rights when dealing with government and other agencies, during a committee meeting Jan. 23, 2020. [The Florida Channel]
    Parents have been marginalized by bureaucracy, and need to be empowered in law, sponsor Rep. Erin Grall says.
  7. Kurt Browning, left, is seeking a third term as superintendent of Pasco County schools. Addison Davis, right, is negotiating a contract to become Hillsborough County's next superintendent. [Tampa Bay Times (2016, 2020)]
    A Hillsborough search and Pasco election offer insights into the job and its importance.
  8. This time last year, Nicole Kenngatt, holding hands with student Lilly Crandall, was announced as Teacher of the Year. The award for the 2019-20 school year will be given Wednesday in a ceremony at Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg. [JAY NOLAN  |  Special to the Times]
    The winner for 2019-20 will be announced Wednesday during the Pinellas Education Foundation’s annual “Evening of Excellence.”
  9. An empty classroom at Bloomingdale High School in Hillsborough County. [Skip O'Rourke | Times] [SKIP O'ROURKE  |  Skip O'Rourke]
    A roundup of stories from around the state.
  10. State Rep. Wyman Duggan, a Jacksonville Republican, presents his bill to create a "do not hire" list for any school employee who has been terminated, or resigned in lieu of termination, from employment as a result of sexual misconduct with a student. [The Florida Channel]
    The measure would apply to district, charter and private schools.