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Charter Schools

charter school

Charter takeover helped students ‘have a chance at life’

TALLAHASSEE -- Three students from rural, impoverished Jefferson County on Tuesday testified before Florida’s House Education Committee about dramatic improvements at their schools since 2017, when the local district relinquished control of its traditional public schools to a charter school operator. Prior to the historic transformation, Jefferson County had been among the state’s lowest-performing districts for about a decade. More than half its high school students had been retained in a grade at least twice. In 2016, just 7 percent of its middle schoolers scored on grade level on state math assessments compared to 26 percent in the next-lowest performing...

Once frustrated and angry, student finds inspiration at Jacksonville charter school

JACKSONVILLE – Landon Waters was unhappy about moving from Philadelphia to North Florida with his mother and older twin brothers in 2014. His mood didn’t improve when he started attending kindergarten in his new neighborhood school. He wasn’t a bad student; he just didn’t like school very much. His mom, LaTanya Urquhart, said he was more interested in playing with pencils and daydreaming than listening to his teacher. He often threw tantrums or cried when she dropped him off in the morning. LaTanya could see why Landon was struggling. “The school was so rigid and restrictive,” she said. “When they were done...

From the Vault: A Tallahassee charter school that rocks

Editor’s note: This feature originally appeared in redefinED just over five years ago on Jan. 22, 2014. At that time, the school served 270 students from kindergarten to eighth grade. Today, its award-winning program offers two tuition-free schools in Tallahassee, the second serving kindergarten through fourth-grade students. It maintains its status of being among the highest ranked schools in Leon County and is in the top 10 percent of schools in the state based on Florida School Rankings. It also has been recognized as one of 10 excellent charter schools in Florida by the Florida Charter School Conference. By all...
education choice

Charter schools take top spot as Florida’s most popular ed choice option

Charter schools overtook “Choice and Magnet programs” and “Open Enrollment” to become the most popular school of choice for Florida parents in 2017-18. The annual Changing Landscapes document above shows 1.63 million preK-12 students, or 47.1 percent of the 3.46 million students statewide, opted for schools outside their zoned neighborhood school. Charters took the No. 1 spot thanks in part to an increase of 12,081 students, but also because of a 58,499 student decline in “Choice and Magnet” programs. Polk County accounted for the decline, and then some, in the “Choice and Magnet” programs category with a decrease of 61,036 students....

Florida Catholic schools keep the faith despite slight enrollment decrease

CLEARWATER, Fla. – After seven years of slow but steady growth, Catholic school enrollment in Florida experienced a 1 percent decrease over last year, according to a preliminary report from the Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops. Total enrollment for the current academic year stands at 85,784 compared with 86,691 in 2017-18, a drop of 907 students. But as Floridians prepare to celebrate Catholic Schools Week, which starts Monday, it is important to put the numbers in context. Despite precipitous drops in Catholic school enrollment in other states – national enrollment in 2017 was just over a third of what it was...

National School Choice Week: A chance to advance equality and opportunity

When The Fellowship of the Ring was released in 2001, I was in the subset of viewers who had not read J.R.R. Tolkien’s books. Yes, right, I know: Nerd demerit! It proved beneficial as a movie-going experience, as it shocked me: Wait, what? Sarumon is a bad guy?? The Gandalf vs. Saruman fight scene comes to mind when I see choice supporters who say they “support choice,” but only a particular type of choice. David Osborne’s piece in The 74 is a recent example of this genre. Osborne obviously is a sincere gentleman, but the scale of our challenges lies...
MLK Day

Ladner: Let freedom ring from every city and every hamlet

Decades after Brown v. Board of Education, a map generated by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute indicates we have miles to go regarding school integration. The map displays 615 Ohio school districts, using color coding to show those that allow open enrollment from any district; those that allow open enrolment from an adjacent district; and those that allow no open enrollment at all. A very disturbing pattern of segregation emerges as it becomes clear that each of Ohio’s large urban districts is surrounded by districts that choose not to give students the opportunity to attend their schools.   (Keep this map...
charter school

Students find their groove at New Port Richey charter school

Cassie Meacham-Clark was not being academically challenged at her neighborhood school. Not that there weren’t classroom issues. There were so many disruptive students that teachers spent more time enforcing rules and calming tense situations than instructing. But Cassie never struggled academically. In fact, as early as first grade, teachers had her grade papers or read aloud to the class while they tended to other students’ behavioral issues. Now a 14-year-old eighth-grader, Cassie is enrolled at her ideal school: Athenian Academy of Technology and the Arts in New Port Richey, Florida. A K-8 independent charter, the school currently serves 360 students, mostly from...