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Sunday, September 14, 2014

Since 2008 a Florida charter school has closed every 3 weeks.

Since that is the case why is the state board of education about to make it easier for them to be created?

From the Naples Daily News:

■ Since 2008, 119 charter schools have closed because of financial reasons, academic failures, student safety concerns or administrative mismanagement. Before closing, those schools taught an estimated 14,000-plus students, the vast majority of whom were forced to relocate to neighboring schools, sometimes in the middle of the academic year.
■ Financial shortfalls were the most common reason for closure, affecting 64 of the 114 schools, yet the state requires zero upfront funding commitment to open a charter campus. In addition, 38 charter school governing boards mismanaged funds, provided lax oversight or failed to properly account for their spending. Despite this, the state doesn’t allow county school districts, which review and approve charter applications, to dig into the financial background of applicants.

■ Academic failures prompted the closure of 45 schools, most of which received back-to-back state-issued “F” grades. Poor academic performance continues to dog the state’s worst-performing charter schools, about 7 percent of which received an “F” in 2012-13, compared to about 3 percent of all traditional public schools.

■ There’s little in state law to prevent charter school operators that have already failed from receiving taxpayer money to try again. Should an applicant that has previously failed in Florida apply for a new school, its prior failure can’t be cited as a reason to deny its application.
■ There are virtually no qualification requirements for serving on a charter school governing board, which bears the ultimate responsibility for managing the tax dollars it receives in the form of per-student funding. In addition, once a charter application is approved and a contract is signed, neither the county school district nor the state has any control over who can serve as a charter school governing board member.
■ While the state has heralded accomplishments by its many successful charter schools, it does little to document and inform parents about charter school failures. The only easily accessible, up-to-date information available to parents is a list buried on the Florida Department of Education’s Web site. That list has just three pieces of information: the school’s name, its home county and its date of closure.
“Right now, the charter school movement in Florida is the Wild West in every sense,” said Bill Sublette, chairman of the Orange County School Board and a former Republican chairman of the Florida House of Representatives’ Education Appropriations Subcommittee. “There’s very little accountability, almost no control, and I think the Legislature is going to have to decide how to put in accountability measures.”

People often accuse me of being anti-choice but the truth is I am just against the absolutely terrible options besides public schools that the state of Florida wants its families to have and it is way past time we said no more to charter schools.

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