FEA Questions Charter School Report

By: Whitney Ray Email
By: Whitney Ray Email

Tallahassee, FL -- April 11, 2012 --

At a construction site in Tallahassee, educators, lobbyists and Florida’s Lt. Governor broke ground on a new charter school. This is just one of four new schools being built by Charter Schools USA. Florida has 517 charter schools in operation right now. Lt. Governor Jennifer Carroll says the public schools run by private companies are improving Florida’s education system.

“It creates competition in the environment because what we had been doing has created D and F schools we can not continue on that path therefore we have to do new and innovative things,” said Carroll.

A new study backs up Carroll’s claims. This report released by the Department of Education compares traditional public school students with charter school students. According to the report in 145 out of 170 categories charter school students did better. Teachers unions aren’t buying it.

“Basically what they are doing is they are measuring things only on test scores,” said Mark Pudlow with the Florida Education Association says the report is flawed because it doesn’t take into account that charter schools educate fewer low income, minority and disabled students.

“The populations are very different. In close quarters sometimes a charter school may have a very different population than the traditional neighborhood school a few blocks away,” said Pudlow.

There is also a disparity in the number of students the two education systems serve. Traditional public schools educate two million students statewide. Less than 200-thousand students are enrolled in charter schools. State lawmakers have paved the way for the charter school expansion. A bill that failed last year would allow the state to give charter school companies money to build and expand. The legislation is expected to be refilled next year.

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