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 roundup of stories from around the state.
  2. Olivia Pruna, a student at Nina Harris Exceptional Student Education Center, practices with the school's drum line last year. The Pinellas County school district is asking parents and others for suggestions on ways to improve exceptional student education in the county. DOUGLAS CLIFFORD  |  Tampa Bay Times
    News and notes about K-12 schools and colleges in Pinellas County.
  3. Student activists with the March For Our Lives group, founded after the Feb. 2018 Parkland shooting, hold a banner that promotes their new "peace plan" to prevent gun violence, while demonstrating in the rotunda of the state capitol building in Tallahassee. Emily L. Mahoney | Times
    The 18-year-old student director of March for Our Lives Florida said school shootings are so common they are “not shocking” anymore.
  4. Steven Currall prepares to deliver an address during his investiture as the University of South Florida's seventh president Thursday at the Yuengling Center in Tampa. MARTHA ASENCIO-RHINE  |  Times
    Though he started the job in July, Steve Currall is officially installed as president on his 137th day in office.
  5. Gov. Ron DeSantis greets local officials at Dunedin High School on Oct. 7, 2019, part of a swing around the state to announce his plan to boost starting teacher pay in Florida to $47,500. He revealed a related teacher bonus plan on Nov. 14 in Vero Beach. MEGAN REEVES  |  Tampa Bay Times
    The new plan would replace the controversial Best and Brightest model that DeSantis had called confusing.
  6. Cotee River Elementary student Darrell Jones waves his American flag during the school's Veterans Day program.
    The School Board is scheduled to vote on the calendar next week.
  7. Pasco eSchool principal JoAnne Glenn is surprised by school district officials who announced she is their 2020 Principal of the Year. JEFFREY SOLOCHEK  |  Times Staff
    A discussion with Pasco County Principal of the Year JoAnne Glenn.
  8. An investiture ceremony is set for Thursday at 2 p.m. inside USF’s Yuengling Center in Tampa. Currall and other USF leaders will speak about the school’s future.
  9. Experts are recommending the flu shot as outbreaks pop up in Hillsborough County schools.
    A roundup of stories from around the state.
  10. The Pasco County school district is considering an increase in substitute teacher pay to combat its low fill rate for the jobs.
    District officials say more competitive wages could help fill vacancies, which have been rising.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement