"Fla. League of Women Voters Releases Startling Charter School Study" by Jackblog | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

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Fla. League of Women Voters Releases Startling Charter School Study

The Florida League of Women Voters released the following verbatim news release Tuesday, May 27, 2014 in regard to a recently-completed study on charter schools across the state.

League of Women Voters Releases State-Wide Study on School Choice

Tallahassee, Fla — Twenty percent of the state's charter schools close because of financial mismanagement or poor academic standards, according to the League of Women Voters of Florida after a year-long study of charter schools in 28 Florida counties.

"Charter schools could fill a niche in Florida's educational spectrum, but for many, their biggest contribution may be to corporate bottom lines," said Deirdre Macnab, President of the League of Women Voters of Florida.

With over 576 charter schools in the state, the League of Women Voters of Florida conducted a study in order to better understand the oversight, management, accountability and transparency of charter and private schools in Florida.

The study found that:

Approximately one-third of charters are run by for-profit management companies. Many screen students, then drop those who are not successful, which public schools are prohibited from doing. Charters also serve particular socio-economic groups, increasing segregation in schools.

Although charters tend to be smaller than traditional schools, there is no consistent difference in achievement for charter school and public school students.

Many charters blur the distinction between religious and non-secular schools. Some churches receive as much as a million dollars in lease payments annually for their facilities from charter schools.

In areas with declining enrollments, neither the charters nor regular public schools are large enough to adequately provide support for staff like nurses or counselors. Retaining teachers is also a problem; most charters offer lower salaries and benefits than public schools.

The League's study produced several recommendations:

Charters should be limited to those that fill unmet needs in identified local school districts.

Stronger local management oversight and disclosure policies are needed.

Financial mismanagement issues must be addressed, as too often the privatization of schools leads to financial abuse.

For more information, including further findings and recommendations, please see the state-wide study, along with the individual studies conducted by eighteen local Leagues across Florida.

The League of Women Voters of Florida, a nonpartisan political organization, encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy. For more information, please visit the League's website at: http://www.TheFloridaVoter.org">http://www.TheFloridaVoter.org.

FLORIDA LEGISLATORS WITH A DIRECT INTEREST IN CHARTER SCHOOLS:

Conflict of Interest Concerns

Senator John Legg Chair of Senate Education Committee is co-founder and business administrator of Daysprings Academy in Port Richey.

Senator Kelli Stargel from Orange County is on board of McKeel Academies. She is on the Education Committee and sponsored the Parent Trigger Bill.

House Budget Chairman Seth McKeel is on the board of McKeel Academy Schools in Polk County.

Anne Corcoran, wife of future House Speaker Richard Corcoran has a charter school in Pasco County. Richard Corcoran is Chair of the House Appropriations Committee.

Senator Anitere Flores of Miami is president of an Academica managed charter school in Doral.

Florida Representative Erik Fresen is Chair of the House Education subcommittee on appropriations. Representative Fresen's sister is the Vice President of Academica and is married to the president.

George Levesque, Florida House lawyer cleared Erik Fresen of conflict of interest concerns over charter schools. He is the husband of Patricia Levesque, former Jeb Bush Deputy Chief of Staff and currently Executive Director of the Foundation for Excellence in Education which promotes school choice.

Representative Manny Diaz is Dean of Doral Academy, an Academica managed school. He is the leader for the new statewide contract bill in the Florida House. Doral College was cited by the Florida Auditor General for a $400,000 loan from Doral Charter High School. Conflict of Interest and procurement for Charters with federal grants.

Comments

robbier 6 years, 6 months ago

With regards to Jackson, though, it would be pretty difficult for a charter school to perform worse than than the JPS schools.

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donnaladd 6 years, 6 months ago

Ad hominems aside, robbier's statement is also unfactual and a logical fallacy. There are good schools in JPS. And he is comparing "a charter school" to "the JPS schools," not a charter school to one of the JPS schools, or all charter schools as a whole to all JPS schools.

In other words, it's a useless and clearly meant-to-be offensive statement. Take it elsewhere, Robbier. You're on the wrong site for such garbage.

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tsmith 6 years, 6 months ago

I don't think calling someone worthless, pitiful, and ignorant is quite necessary here??

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donnaladd 6 years, 6 months ago

No, it's ad hominem. But so is posting that the entire JPS system is terrible. It's filled with people--and many superb ones. Let's leave both off, and we'll all be fine.

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hottytoddyguy 6 years, 6 months ago

It may just be a general attitude of what is conveyed by the media and peoples' assumptions of JPS, out of the 58 schools 23 are ranked C or better which is less than half. In comparision to the metro area school districts that is pretty crappy, I dont think that robbier was trying to be offensive he/she probably just went by their general consensus of JPS performance around the metro area. Granted yes we have many outstanding and superb faculty and staff in jackson there are also those that are just there for the check and are babysitting kids instead of teaching the children. I am a product of private and public education in Jackson and i see a charter school as a possible better choice for the parents that desire private education but cannot afford it in their budget. We've seen these studies pop up here and there but being that they are barely allowing charter applications through it shouldnt be such a push back on the issue, the Tri County area will only have one charter school for the time being and its good to get the kinks out of the system before we open this wide like other states La, Fl or Il.

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JLucas 6 years, 6 months ago

JPS has a significant enough number of failing schools with mediocre performance ratings to deserve its reputation. I agree, however, that not all teachers and administrators are to blame for this situation – there are several contributing factors that go beyond the classroom.

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hottytoddyguy 6 years, 6 months ago

I agree lets not blame everyone but the reality is out of 58 schools, only 23 are C or better so the general consensus of JPS is of sub par education. Granted kids have outside issues but at some point the school/district has to take responsibility, all children in Jackson aren't going thru things like this then why are most of the schools failing, we need to definitely highlight the great ones and reprimand/fire the ones that aren't. Charter schools are a way for parents that can't afford private education to obtain a similar pathway. This is a trail run for MIssissippi bring thatthere will only be one school in the Tri-County area says alot for how we as a state are approaching it, slow and steady to try and work out Kinks so we won't be in similar as the other states that have introduced charter schools.

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blackwatch 6 years, 5 months ago

Hotty Toddy Guy, I wouldn't say a charter school is an alternative for parents that can't afford to send their kids to private school. I know they are sold as such here, but the reality is that most of the more popular private schools in the tri-county area will look nothing like a charter school serving, say west Jackson. Private schools are not hotbeds for educational innovation, nor are they as racially or ecoomically diverse as they could be , considering their geographic locations. A private school in this area is probably sellng segregation more so than educational innovation, which is what a charter school is supposed to be providing. I hope that any charter school that comes to this area will offer much needed innovation that is scalable for the schools that are struggling. I just wonder why not allow the exisiting neighborhood schools to be "charter like" with the freedom to innovate like a charter school would?

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hottytoddyguy 6 years, 5 months ago

@Blackwatch great point about the private schools that is true they aren't the hotbed of education that they could be besides possibly St. Andrew's in my opinion. But i also wondered the same as to why they wouldn't let maybe 3 schools become "charter-like" an elem., middle and high school possibly. But it seems that it would be a lot of red tape being that you would essentially de-fund a school and relinquish it from the state and also have to raise money to open it back up as a charter if I'm clear on how the charter school funding works. Also if it just so happened to not work out then you would have to basically open said schools back or have another high school closed with an already over populated school system especially on the high school level.

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