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Saturday, May 31, 2014

Arguments for Charter Schools don't hold water.

The Charter School Consortium’s spokesperson Lynne Norman-Teck did not have a very convincing argument in favor of charter schools. She pointed out that in 63 comparisons charter schools performed better in 58 categories usually by a point or so I might add but this falls apart when you consider charter schools are able to counsel out poor performers, discipline problems and take fewer ESE and English as a second language learners. With these advantages shouldn’t charter school be out performing public schools by a mile?

They aren’t and all the consortium can do is point to comparisons made by the very charter school friendly Florida Department of education. The FLDOE also says kids attending charter schools were five times more likely to be attending an F schools but she didn’t mention that because the only thing supporters of charters schools can do is to point to cherry picked evidence with little context.

An even bigger question though is what about the students that attended the 250 plus charter schools that have failed where do the kids that attended them get counted? Most likely it is in the public schools they have to return too. How would public schools be doing if they could ignore the scores of the bottom ten percent?

Then her second argument about how Charters receive less money falls apart too. First yes per pupil charters do get less but how about the hundreds of millions in PECO construction funds they have gotten over the last few years while public schools relieved none? A few hundred million dollars divided by a few hundred schools quickly adds up. Furthermore despite her claim charter schools get less per pupil it hasn’t stopped the owners of Charter Schools like Academia and Charter schools USA from becoming millionaires, or other schools paying their administrators/owners as much or more than some superintendents of entire districts.

If charter schools were parent-teacher driven laboratories of innovation that supplemented districts then I believe they would have a role to play. Unfortunately here in Florida too many are run by mercenary outfits whose first goal is to earn a profit and who compete with districts while producing an inferior product.

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