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ERIC Number: ED502116
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2006-May-30
Pages: 34
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: N/A
Florida Charter Schools: Hot and Humid with Passing Storms. Education Sector Reports: Charter School Series
Hassel, Bryan C.; Terrell, Michelle Godard; Kowal, Julie
Education Sector
Among many publicly-funded school choice initiatives that have earned Florida the label "school choice central", none has reached as many children and families as charter schools. Charter schools have flourished in Florida largely because of the state's rapid population growth: many of the districts that are experiencing more than a 10 percent increase in student enrollment have more than 10 percent of their students in charter schools. The charter school movement in Florida enjoys strong and bipartisan political support. Several of the state's institutions of higher education and the Urban League of Greater Miami have also actively supported charter schools, and many legislators send their children to charter schools. Measured by volume, Florida's first decade of charter schooling has seen the number of charter schools grown from five to 334. But the rapid growth has raised its own problems. Most notably, the second half of the charter school autonomy-accountability bargain has been largely unfulfilled. Although 62 Florida charter schools have been closed, the majority have been shut down due to financial and enrollment issues; academic laggards have largely been allowed to remain open. To some, this situation represents the charter school ideal: free market experimentation that gives parents a wide range of choices. But it also gives ammunition to charter school critics, who argue that some charter school operators fail to serve their students and squander state and federal dollars. In response, the state has passed some measures that help weed out unsuccessful operators, particularly by strengthening local application and review standards and enforcing charter revocation provisions. This report examines both the achievements and the shortfalls of Florida's first decade of charter schooling. Principal findings include: (1) Charter schools have strong support; (2) Florida has embraced innovative charter programs; (3) School accountability is spotty; (4) Student achievement is mixed; (5) District authorizing is ineffective; and (6) Florida's charter schools are underfunded. The report provides recommendations to improve the vitality and quality of charter schools: (1) Enhance the quality of charter school authorizing; (2) Strengthen charter school performance; (3) Ensure charter schools' financial viability; (4) Extend charter schools' exemption from the class size amendment; (5) Improve measures of charter school performance; (6) Insulate charter schools from the Florida Supreme Court voucher decision; and (7) Coalesce charter support. (Contains 32 endnotes, 5 figures, and 7 tables.)
Education Sector. 1201 Connecticut Avenue NW Suite 850, Washington, DC 20036. Tel: 202-552-2840; Fax: 202-775-5877; Web site: http://www.educationsector.org
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Practitioners; Policymakers
Language: English
Sponsor: Annie E. Casey Foundation
Authoring Institution: Education Sector
Identifiers - Location: Florida