In a year when A-F grades improved across the state, Florida’s charter schools can breathe a sigh of relief. Not a single charter school faces automatic closure for receiving consecutive F’s.
Ten Florida charter schools have shut down under the law in the past two years. This year will be the first without “Double-F” closures since the state paused school accountability consequences in 2015 during a transition to new academic standards.
The number of F-rated schools fell across the board in letter grades released today by the state Department of Education. Only seven charter schools received F’s, and four were receiving their first grades ever. It’s common for charters that serve large numbers of disadvantaged students to receive lower grades out of the gate before gaining their footing in future years.
There were other bright spots across the state. Among them:
- Martin Luther King Montessori Academy, a Broward County magnet school created to turn around low performance, boosted its grade from an F to a C, thus removing itself from consequences under the state’s Schools of Hope law.
- Miami-Dade County Public Schools are an A-rated district for the first time in their history, joining a club that largely includes far more affluent districts.
- Jefferson County is home to a C-rated school for the first time since 2009, and has no D or F schools for the first time since 2003. Its high school, split from its middle school for the first time, has a B for its first year. A first-of-its-kind charter school conversion in the state’s lowest-scoring district appears to be paying off.
Charter schools – and especially virtual charters – were over-represented among the schools receiving “incomplete” grades in the state’s preliminary release. Complicated testing logistics for full-time online schools may be part of the reason. Schools have a month to appeal their grades before they become final.