Advertisement
  1. Gradebook

Don’t read too much into Florida’s charter school report, expert warns

State officials used the data to tout charters’ successes.
OCTAVIO JONES | Times
Published Jun. 18

Several state and local leaders invested in Florida’s school choice system seized upon a March Department of Education report detailing charter school academic outcomes and comparing them to district-run schools.

“There is simply no denying that choice works, particularly for minority and low-income students," state education commissioner Richard Corcoran, a strong advocate for charter school expansion, said at the time.

The National Education Policy Center, a University of Colorado-Boulder think tank that examines education research to determine whether reports hold water, has issued a white paper suggesting that readers not draw such deep conclusions.

The reason, author Robert Bifulco of Syracuse University writes, is because the state’s report does little more than provide numbers without any analysis or insight.

“The fact that the report merely presents comparisons required by law without putting any policy ‘spin’ on them might be considered a virtue,” Bifulco stated. “The danger is that the report might encourage erroneous conclusions. The simple comparisons reveal very little about the relative effectiveness of charter schools and still less about other policy questions.”

He noted that charter schools might have several effects, both positive and negative. The report simply does not get into enough detail to answer the policy questions that have caused so much debate and dissension in Florida and elsewhere, he suggested.

“At the very least, the report should have clarified the purposes of its comparisons and cautioned against the danger of jumping to unwarranted conclusions,” Bifulco wrote. “An even more ambitious study might have taken on the challenge of exploring whether students in charters are faring better than they might have if the charter option were not available — and why.”

Read the NEPC paper for more details.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. A view of the student center at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg, where opposition is mounting over a plan to consolidate USF's three campuses. Some state lawmakers are opposed to parts of it that would concentrate authority over academic decisions in Tampa. CHRIS URSO   |   TIMES  |
    They say the proposal by USF president Steve Currall conflicts with a new Florida law by giving too much authority to the Tampa campus.
  2. Wreckage left behind by Hurricane Michael. News Service of Florida
    Entire school systems are still recovering from long-standing damage and dealing with the disruptive aftermath of the storm.
  3. The National Merit Scholarship program has announced the names of semifinalists for scholarships to be offered in the spring.
    These students are among the top 1 percent of high school seniors in the nation.
  4. Florida schools increasingly are monitoring students' social media for potential threats.
    A roundup of stories from around the state.
  5. Sally Harris said she has more to accomplish and is mounting a return campaign for the Hillsborough County School Board. [Times | 2014]
    Three people have filed so far for the seat now held by Lynn Gray.
  6. The DeLucio family of Trinity toured the Mitchell High School campus and showed the visit on their YouTube channel, which has more than 1 million subscribers. Many parents, students and school officials were not amused. YouTube
    If approved, a new policy would take effect in early October.
  7. The Hillsborough County School Board holds a workshop in June 2019. Tampa Bay Times
    The chairwoman looks for ways to keep comments private, while the board asks for more input on key issues like its superintendent search.
  8. Hillsborough County school officer Obed Gerenastands in front of Cahoon Elementary School in Tampa in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook shootings.
    A roundup of stories from around the state.
  9. Hernando County Sheriff's deputy Cory Zarcone talks to students during breakfast time in the cafeteria of Brooksville Elementary School in 2018. [Times (2018)]
    Five were arrested last week in a gun-theft incident on school grounds. Schools were locked down twice the week before. School board members want “zero tolerance.”
  10. Saint Leo University hosted a Bahamian comfort food dinner Tuesday night. Nearly 150 of the more than 2,200 students on the Pasco County campus are from the Bahamas. MALIEK WATKINS, THE LIONS’ PRIDE MEDIA GROUP  |  Saint Leo University
    Shaken by the devastation and toll of Hurricane Dorian, the Pasco County university’s students shared traditional dishes from home.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement