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Charter Schools

This charter school answered prayers

TAMPA, Fla. -- When Tay'Shaun Holley stumbled at his neighborhood school, his mom, Crystal Fountain, enrolled him in another district school 20 miles away. But that didn't lead to solid footing either, and the complications of a single mom juggling three jobs, four kids and grueling commutes began to take its toll. Fountain prayed for help. Then, a friend called. A neat, new school was opening near Fountain’s home. A charter school. Fountain researched Collaboratory Preparatory Academy, filled out an application, scheduled a visit. Even before meeting the principal and teachers, she had a feeling: This was the one. “Honestly, I cried...
school choice

DeSantis budget cuts to impact Florida charter schools

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has vetoed just over $1.35 million in funding that would have gone to several charter schools around the state, including Academy at the Farm in Pasco County and Somerset Academy in Jefferson County. The cuts were part of the $131 million in appropriations the governor excised from the $90.9 billion budget for the 2019-20 fiscal year, which begins Monday. The governor’s office did not respond to a request for comment. The veto disappointed Ray Polk, principal at Academy at the Farm. The K-8 school had requested $650,000 to fund infrastructure improvements and plans to expand to begin...

On Democrats and charter schools

A recent Education Week article noted that former vice president Al Gore called for a tripling in the number of charter schools when he ran for president in 2000. Two decades later, those seeking the Democratic presidential nomination span the gamut from shying away from the topic of charter schools to calling for a national moratorium on them. In the meantime, the charter school count grew from 1,990 to 7,010 by 2016, with an enrollment growth from 0.4 million to 3 million. SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Common Core of Data (CCD), “Public Elementary/Secondary School Universe...

From rebellious to role model, thanks to a Florida charter school

Editor’s note: This month, redefinED is revisiting stories that shine a light on extraordinary students. Today’s spotlight, first published in December 2017, tells the story of a feisty Orlando teen who evolved from drama queen to top student. ORLANDO – Mia Freytas navigates the hallways of Renaissance Charter School at Hunter’s Creek like a rock star, high-fiving teachers, blowing kisses to first-graders who rush up to hug her, and leaning in close to girls who grab her hands and whisper secrets. Bobbing along the bustling corridors during class change, the bubbly 14-year-old, auburn curls bouncing, hustles so she won’t be late. These days, it’s...

Appeals court weighs major education law

By Jim Saunders and Tom Urban, The News Service of Florida TALLAHASSEE - Appearing skeptical of arguments made by school boards, an appeals court Tuesday waded into a challenge to the constitutionality of a 2017 state law that seeks to boost charter schools. Numerous school boards across the state filed two lawsuits contending that the law infringed on their rights to operate school districts. One of the major issues in the case is the law’s authorization of “schools of hope,” a new type of charter school aimed at areas where children have been served by traditional public schools that are low...

Charter schools without private choice killing private schools in Michigan

The Detroit Free Press reported last week that Michigan private schools have been closing at a rate of approximately two per month for the last decade. The map below shows the location of these closures. The article states: “Religious schools make up the majority, but nonreligious schools, preschools, Montessori schools and others have closed as well. In all, more than 200 private schools have closed since 2009, according to data from the Michigan’s Center for Educational Performance and Information.” Research from the Rand Corporation foretold this Michigan trend more than a decade ago. A Rand study focusing on the impact of charter schools in Michigan...

Charter school ‘Nerds’ head to National Science Olympiad

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – They may call themselves “The Nerds,” but to their peers at the River City Science Academy charter school, the group of 15 dedicated bookworms is as celebrated as any championship-level athletics team. On Saturday, River City’s science team will compete for the second consecutive year at the Science Olympiad National Tournament held at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y. River City’s squad is one of two teams from Florida, and one of 60 middle school teams from around the country that will compete, along with a Japanese team also vying for the championship. There are nearly 8,000 Science...

Sanders misses point on education reform

When Sen. Bernie Sanders, a Democratic candidate for president, recently revealed his education plan, most of the ensuing news coverage focused on his criticism of charter schools and his call for a moratorium on their expansion. Cue the usual op-eds and pundits booing him, attacking socialism and railing against infringements on a “competitive free market.” I’m here in Florida booing the usual pundits. Don’t get me wrong. I’m a longtime Sanders supporter who was disappointed in his attacks on a movement bringing equity to public education. He’s misguided and misinformed. His opinion is baffling coming from someone who values “Medicare for All.” A...