Audit Critical of Florida Charter Schools

A new state audit is critical of many of Florida's charter schools. The 21-page report says many of those schools' contracts and annual reports don't include the information needed to hold them accountable for student performance.

Jesse Jackson is director of Tallahassee's Florida State University School, a k-12 charter school which has received an "A" grade two years in a row.

Jesse says, "We have to take the same state assessment tests as anyone else. We have to report to DOE. We have to have our financial matters in order, everything."

Students of the school credit smaller class sizes to their academic success.

Chara Dennis, a senior at Florida State University School, says, "When you go to a public high school you have 800-900 high schoolers as opposed to having 500 students, grades 9-12."

A recent audit of Florida's publicly funded charter schools has some wondering if there should be more accountability. The report finds many charter schools are not being held accountable by Florida's A Plus Plan or the federal No Child Left Behind measure.

Jackson, a former principal, feels many of these schools may not have proper leadership.

He says, "Often times, many of them don't have the background to anticipate the challenge they are going to have."

Florida Education Secretary John Winn concurs with the findings in the report and is working closely with lawmakers to keep Florida charter schools more accountable by toughening the contracts they have with the school boards in their respective districts.

The Florida Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability conducted the review.