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Charter Schools

Commentary: Why school choice transcends politics

By Joy Smith-McCormick Among the most important choices families must make, education commands our focus, as it is the foundation upon which high-functioning, productive citizens are developed. The education sector has been religious in its practices for centuries, but over the last 20 years more options to deliver education have emerged. Just as other sectors have responded to public demand to improve, school choice has evolved to meet families’ need for a higher-quality education. At the core of the school choice debate is a personal choice parents must make about the educational model that works best for their children. Most...
school choice

House committee approves charter funding bill

A bill that would require Florida school districts to share tax revenues with charter schools is headed to the House floor. The House Ways and Means Committee on Thursday voted 15-2 to approve a package of tax issues (PCB WMC 19-02), a section of which addresses charter schools being denied funding from voter-approved local tax referendums. In November, voters in eight Florida counties approved extra taxes for public schools. Four of the counties – Alachua, Lee, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach – made formal decisions prior to the election not to share the revenue from tax increases with charter schools,...

revisitED: Small schools, public and private, fill special niche for children with autism

Editor’s note: redefinED is supporting National Autism Awareness Month each Saturday in April by reposting articles from our archives that celebrate those who champion the educational rights of children with autism. Today’s post, which originally appeared in November 2015, relates the story of a South Florida mom who refused to give up until she found the right school for her daughter. by Travis Pillow When Charleen Decort was looking for the right school for her daughter, she traveled around South Florida, looking at factors some parents rarely consider, like the color of the walls and the shade of the lights. When she found her...

revisitED – Jeb Bush: Information is power for low-income parents

Editor’s note: Today, redefinED continues to review pieces published previously on school accountability. This post, which originally appeared in June 2016, features former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush in an interview conducted by a student who attended school on a tax credit scholarship. All parents should have access to "consumer reports" on schools in their area — public or private, magnet or charter — and be able to choose among them. Once their children are enrolled in a school, they should get meaningful updates on how well they're doing. It might seem simple, but for too many parents, that's not how the school system works,...

Charter school students continue to outperform peers in traditional public schools

Students in Florida charter schools are outperforming their peers in traditional schools in nearly every category according to the Florida Department of Education’s annual charter school performance report, released today. The analysis used 2017-18 school year data to examine the average performance of charter school students and traditional public school students in terms of grade level achievement, learning gains and achievement gap. Data included in the report, based on more than 4.2 million test scores, was derived from student performance on the Florida Standards Assessments for English language arts and mathematics as well as statewide assessments for science and social...
school choice

Bills expanding Florida’s charter schools on the move in House committee

TALLAHASSEE – The House PreK-12 Innovation Subcommittee on Tuesday passed two substantial bills impacting charter schools in Florida. HB 1197 would allow state universities and Florida College System (FCS) institutions to fully sponsor charter schools serving all grade levels, repealing current limitations capping such schools at grade 8. Supporters cited educational capacity, workforce qualifications, and career education opportunities as needs that may extend beyond a school district’s boundaries, creating the necessity for HB 1197. The bill would require the Department of Education to collaborate with charter school sponsors and operators to develop an evaluation framework and report results annually in their application...

Judge sides with charter schools in safety fight

Jim Saunders / News Service of Florida TALLAHASSEE --- In a decision that could have statewide implications, an administrative law judge Tuesday ruled that the Palm Beach County School Board is required to assign safety officers to charter schools under a law passed last year. Judge John Van Laningham sided with Renaissance Charter School Inc., which operates six schools in Palm Beach County and wanted the School Board to provide “safe school” officers. The School Board refused, leading to the legal battle. Van Laningham, in a 43-page order, pointed to a law passed after the February 2018 mass shooting at Parkland’s Marjory Stoneman...
charter schools

Separate but equal in Duval County: What does it really mean?

Charter schools typically don’t have transportation services, and they can’t gerrymander enrollment zones that zigzag through the county to diversify the student body. So what’s a charter school to do if it wants to enroll more minority students? What about building a school right where minority students live? In Duval County, that would violate Brown v Board of Education by creating “a separate but equal school,” according to Duval County Public Schools superintendent Diana L. Greene. This was one of several excuses Greene used to deny a recent charter school application. Of course, building a school where minority children live doesn’t actually violate...