I am bothered that the guest columnist doesn’t offer substantiation for the claims. Excerpts from above link which is a guest column by Simaran Bakshi — principal of Wayman Academy of the Arts:
[Where is the link to substantiate this claim?] A comprehensive report from the Florida Department of Education found that charters produce better outcomes for students and are more successful at narrowing achievement gaps for minority students.
[Why didn’t she stay in the school system and help all the neighborhood schools?]After turning around a failing district-run elementary school, I moved to Wayman Academy. At a public charter school, I have more power to improve outcomes for families and engage teachers.
[What strict system does she mean? Has HB 7069 changed that?] I am proud that we have a strict system that holds charter schools accountable for their performance and finances.
[Where is the link?] Florida’s results on the 2017 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) assessments show we are the only state that significantly increased scores in grade 4 mathematics, grade 8 reading and grade 8 mathematics between 2015 and 2017.
The guest column by Simaran was in response to this article:
Quote from that article:
A government watchdog group called Florida’s growing system of privately-run public charter schools wasteful and said it sometimes gives rise to self-dealing and profiteering.
A quote from this article https://www.jacksonville.com/nationworld/20181114/former-duval-charter-school-operator-gets-20-years-for-fraud :
May’s company, Newpoint Education Partners, operated charter schools in Escambia, Bay, Broward, Duval, Hillsborough and Pinellas counties. In Duval, that includes San Jose Academy and San Jose Preparatory High on Sunbeam Road. Marcus May was sentenced to pay a $5 million fine for using charter schools to steer millions of dollars into his personal accounts. May was also sentenced to 20 years in prison.
I wonder if Amendment 11 will help to stop this. Another quote from the Sept 17th article:
“Some public officials who decide education policy and their families are profiting personally from ownership and employment with the charter school industry, creating the appearance of a conflict of interest,” the study says. “Lax regulation of charter schools has created opportunities for financial mismanagement and criminal corruption. … Inasmuch as charter schools can be an inefficient and wasteful option for ‘school choice,’ the legislature should evaluate the appropriate amount of funding the state can afford to offer in educational choices to parents and students.”
Why is this? What is the attraction? Would the money be better spent by improving the neighborhood school? Another quote from article:
Statewide about 10 percent, or about 296,000 students of Florida’s 2.8 million children, attend 650 charter schools.
When for-profit charters close, the public money spent on lease payments and building improvements is lost, because the school district doesn’t own their buildings, the study said. Florida charter schools received $346 million in capital outlay funds alone in 2016-17, surpassing what traditional schools received some years, the study said. That doesn’t include the hundreds of millions more charter schools receive for operations and management.
Since its start in 1998, the charter school industry has spent more than $13 million to influence state education policy in Florida through contributions to political campaigns, the study said. Since 2007, the industry spent another $8 million on legislative lobbying.