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Three Florida Schools Named to Charter School Honor Roll for 2019

All Three Schools are Members of the Florida Consortium of Public Charter Schools (FCPCS)

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., (May 7, 2019) – Three Florida charter schools have been named to the Charter School Honor Roll, an annual awards program presented by Charter School Capital of Portland, Oregon.

The three Florida charter schools are:

  • East Tampa Academy, serving students in levels VPK, K, 1 and 2 and located at 4309 N. 34th Street in Tampa.  East Tampa Academy was named to the Charter School Honor Roll for its community service.
  • Imagine Schools – Chancellor Campus, located at 3333 High Ridge Road in Boynton Beach.  The school serves 1,025 students in grades K through 8.  It was awarded the Charter School Honor Roll designation for its positive school climate.
  • Manatee School for the Arts, located at 700 Haben Boulevard, Palmetto, Florida.  It was honored in the category of school growth.  It has the highest rate of graduation of all high schools in Manatee County.

The Charter School Honor Roll is a celebration of charter schools nationwide that exemplify exceptional accomplishments in any of the following categories: school growth, student achievement, community service, school leadership and positive school climate.  Thirty charter schools across the nation were recognized and named to the Charter School Honor Roll for 2019.

All three of the winning Florida charter schools are members of the Florida Consortium of Public Charter Schools (FCPCS).

“We are proud to congratulate East Tampa Academy, Imagine Schools Chancellor Campus and Manatee School for the Arts for achieving this significant honor,” said Robert Haag, President of the Florida Consortium of Public Charter Schools.

The complete list of charter schools named to the 2019 Charter School Honor Roll is available at this link: https://charterschoolcapital.org/2019HonorRoll?utm_campaign=AprilNewsletter&utm_medium=Email&utm_source=HonorRoll&mkt_tok=eyJpIjoiWVRSaE1ESTNNMkZsWWpSaiIsInQiOiJibm4wNkRQNTNzbzl4SFEzdXR2aVVodmZpNkZoXC85NzZrTFFUZXdxUCs0TFY2aGFZOTdsbjVrOXlrVkdRUjc3bCt3OGpxMW1SSDVsYUZsM3RGNXVTYlwvWThUVDhSbllPSWVoTUQ3ZTl4SFowM284R0Z4VjBDdlpMTGNJV2lia3VHIn0%3D

About Charter School Capital, Inc.

Charter School Capital is proud to deliver access to growth capital and facilities financing to charter schools nationwide.  In the past 10 years, Charter School Capital has invested more than $1.8 billion to more than 600 charter schools, helping them provide a high-quality education to more than one million students across the country.

About the Florida Consortium of Public Charter Schools

The Florida Consortium of Public Charter Schools (FCPCS) is the leading charter school membership association in the state, with a membership of nearly 75 percent of all operating charter schools.  Since its inception in 1999, FCPCS has been dedicated to creating a national model of high quality, accredited public charter schools that are student-centered and performance-driven.  FCPCS provides a wide array of technical support, mentoring, training, networking, and purchasing services to its membership, as well as serving as an advocate for all Florida public charter schools.

 

 

School choice harms public schools? The numbers don’t add up

Where is the evidence that spending more money on schools produces better education?

Re-posted from an op ed column posted April 21, 2019 to Florida Politics Blog

By Lloyd Brown

One of the strangest notions bandied about in the media is that school choice — giving kids equal opportunity — is somehow “draining money” from public schools.

First, you have to ask: why would that matter even if it were true? Taxpayer money is supposed to go to educate children, not provide well-paid jobs for adults.

Then you would have to ask: Where is the evidence that spending more money on schools produces better education?

Next, you would ask: Why should schools be paid to educate students who are not in their school?

Other questions would include: Isn’t it the parents’ business where their child goes to school? And isn’t it important if the child gets a better education at less cost?

Only 395,726 kids in Florida get school choice with state aid.

Florida TaxWatch compared the traditional district school cost to the cost of charter schools and tax-credit scholarships.

The study found a per-pupil cost for Florida schools of $10,856.

TaxWatch estimated per charter school student funding for 2017-18 to be $7,476. There were 295,214 students last year.

The average maximum scholarship available through the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program, which allows children from less affluent families to transfer from failing public schools to private schools, was $6,447 for 2017-18. There are 100,512 students this year.

Thus, the total cost to educate them this year is about $2.8 billion.

Compare that to the cost of K-12 schools and it amounts to 10 percent — but a huge saving to taxpayers.

The fact is, charters saved taxpayers $997.8 million in 2017-18, and the tax credit scholarship saved $476.6 million, for a total of $1.47 billion.

That is money the public schools — or more precisely the taxpayers — would have to raise if the voucher students returned to public schools. Adding students to a school increases costs. Subtracting students reduce costs, contrary to what voucher opponents would have you believe.

The idea that school choice is harming public schools is fanciful — and even if true would be far less important than the fact that it is helping children, families and taxpayers.

Lloyd Brown, a former reporter, columnist and editor, is retired but still writing occasionally, for eyeonjacksonville.com, American Thinker and other publications.

 

Florida Public Charter Schools to Celebrate National Charter Schools Week May 12 to May 18, 2019

Florida Consortium of Public Charter Schools (FCPCS) Member Schools Expected to Participate in Celebration

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., (April 25, 2019) – Many of Florida’s more than 650 public charter schools are expected to participate in this year’s National Charter Schools Week celebration, slated for May 12 to May 18, 2019.  National Charter Schools Week is an official program of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, based in Washington, D.C.

The theme for this year’s celebration is “Charter Schools Are,” according to information posted on the website of the National Alliance, which notes, “This special celebration is a time for everyone in the (charter schools) movement – leaders, teachers, students, parents and advocates – to come together to showcase our schools and students.”

For 2019, each weekday during National Charter Schools Week is focused on a different core group of charter school participants, according to the National Alliance.  Monday is focused on charter school leaders, Tuesday is about charter school teachers, elected officials are recognized on Wednesday, the primary focus Thursday is on charter school supporters and advocates, while Friday embraces students and alumni of charter schools.

Many of Florida’s public charter schools have been active participants in National Charter Schools Week during past years, according to the Florida Consortium of Public Charter Schools.

“The Florida Consortium of Public Charter Schools encourages our member schools to once again take part in this year’s celebration, in order to showcase their educational accomplishments and increase awareness and understanding of Florida’s public charter schools,” said Robert Haag, President of the Florida Consortium of Public Charter Schools.  “This is a great opportunity to increase visibility and recognition of public charter schools in our state.

For more information about National Charter Schools Week, visit the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools website at https://www.publiccharters.org/what-you-can-do/celebrate-national-charter-schools-week.

About the Florida Consortium of Public Charter Schools

The Florida Consortium of Public Charter Schools (FCPCS) is the leading charter school membership association in the state, with a membership of nearly 75 percent of all operating charter schools.  Since its inception in 1999, FCPCS has been dedicated to creating a national model of high quality, accredited public charter schools that are student-centered and performance-driven.  FCPCS provides a wide array of technical support, mentoring, training, networking, and purchasing services to its membership, as well as serving as an advocate for all Florida public charter schools.

 

Charter School Enrollment Numbers for Miami-Dade and Broward Rank in Top 10 Among School Systems Nationally, According to National Alliance for Public Charter Schools

Florida Consortium of Public Charter Schools (FCPCS) Notes Continued Impact of Charter School Enrollment in Two of the Nation's Largest School Systems

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., (April 16, 2019) – Charter school enrollment numbers for the school districts in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties place them among the top ten nationally of all school systems, according to a report published earlier this year by the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.

The 65,289 students enrolled in Miami-Dade County charter schools is enough for Miami-Dade County Public Schools to be ranked third in the nation for charter school enrollment, behind only the Los Angeles Unified School District, with 163,575 students enrolled in charter schools, and the New York City Department of Education, with 111,805 students enrolled in charter schools.

Broward County charter schools held the eighth spot, nationally, with 46,478 students enrolled in public charter schools in the Broward County School District.  Ranked above number eight Broward were Philadelphia (4), Chicago (5), Houston (6) and Orleans Parish (7).

The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools collected public school enrollment data from the 2017-2018 school year to identify communities across the country where the highest proportion of students were enrolled in charter schools.  2019 is the thirteenth year the report has been published.

The Miami-Dade and Broward school systems were closely ranked in terms of the percentage of students attending public charter schools.  In Miami-Dade, 18 percent of students were enrolled in public charter schools, or 65,289 students out of a total system enrollment of 354,515.  In Broward, it was 17 percent, or 46,478 of 272,271.  By comparison, the top 20 school systems in the nation, ranked by percentage of students attending charter schools, were all listed at 30 percent or more.

"Florida is a national leader in charter school enrollment and a pivotal force behind the charter school movement," said Robert Haag, President of the Florida Consortium of Public Charter Schools.  “It is gratifying to see the rankings of both the Miami-Dade and Broward school systems."

The full 2017-2018 report, entitled "A Growing Movement; America's Largest Charter Public School Communities, can be viewed or downloaded at: https://www.publiccharters.org/our-work/publications/growing-movement-americas-largest-charter-public-school-communities-thirteenth-edition

About the Florida Consortium of Public Charter Schools

The Florida Consortium of Public Charter Schools (FCPCS) is the leading charter school membership association in the state, with a membership of nearly 75 percent of all operating charter schools.  Since its inception in 1999, FCPCS has been dedicated to creating a national model of high quality, accredited public charter schools that are student-centered and performance-driven.  FCPCS provides a wide array of technical support, mentoring, training, networking, and purchasing services to its membership, as well as serving as an advocate for all Florida public charter schools.

 

Charters are successful because they are different

Re-posted from an op ed column dated April 1, 2019 in the Gainesville Sun

By Kay Abbitt

Charter schools in Florida are a hot topic these days. Most of the people who complain about charter schools have no real experience with charter schools. These detractors tend to rely on one-sided reporting to get their information, resulting in inaccurate bits of information being repeated and perpetuating stereotypes about charter schools.

I feel qualified to write on this topic as I am the director and co-founder of Boulware Springs Charter. Hopefully, this column will counter some of the misconceptions, in addition to providing data from the Florida Department of Education’s annual report on charter school performance released March 25.

One misconception is that charter schools “hand pick” their students. Charter schools by law must accept all who apply as long as space is available. If there is no space, students are selected by a lottery.

Boulware is located in northeast Gainesville close to Rawlings and Metcalfe elementary schools. Eighty-six percent of Boulware’s students are considered economically disadvantaged, similar to Rawlings and Metcalfe.

According to the FLDOE report, 54.9 percent of students in all Florida charter schools are economically disadvantaged as compared to 65 percent in traditional public schools. The difference in these numbers is small. In comparisons of achievement and learning gains, economically disadvantaged students in charter schools performed better than their counterparts in traditional schools in 93 percent of the comparisons.

Another argument against charter schools is that there is no accountability. Financially, there are overwhelming amounts of accountability by charters to both the school district and state.

Monthly, charter schools are required to submit to their district the previous month’s financial report prepared by an accountant. Annually, every district department — from human resources to curriculum to building safety — monitor each charter school to ensure that they are operating within state guidelines. Each charter school is required to pay 5 percent (approximately $53,000 for Boulware) of their state funding to the district for this monitoring.

Charter schools are also accountable to the state for their students’ scores on Florida Standards Assessment testing. Charter schools must follow the same guidelines for testing and are subject to the same penalties for low school grades. Charter schools are doing amazingly well as compared to traditional public schools with regards to educating students.

The FLDOE reported:

• Eighty-two percent of students enrolled in charter schools demonstrated higher rates of grade level performance than their peers in traditional public schools.

• When comparing learning gains, the percentage of students making learning gains was higher in charter schools in 88 of the 96 (91.7 percent) comparisons.

• Forty-seven percent of the charter schools earned an “A” school grade compared to 28 percent of traditional schools

• When comparing achievement and learning gains of African-American students, those in charter schools performed better in 89 percent of the comparisons.

• When comparing achievement and learning gains of Hispanic students, those in charter schools performed better in 93 percent of the comparisons.

In 2016-2017, Boulware Springs Charter was ranked No. 5 out of 3,239 Florida public schools (both traditional and charter) for reading gains. In math, we were ranked No. 51 out of 3,241 Florida public schools for gains.

Recently, at the Superintendent’s Math challenge at Buchholz High School, our fourth and fifth grade students did very well. Our teams won first place in two of the top four brackets beating all other traditional elementary schools. Our other team won second place in the lower bracket. The fact that we are an east Gainesville Title 1 charter school without a magnet program makes this accomplishment even more amazing.

All charter schools in Florida are 501c3 organizations, which are nonprofits. There are no “for profit” charters. If there are larger charter organizations that have charter management companies with some questionable practices, it is imperative that the state monitor these organizations closely to ensure that funding is being managed properly. No educational system is perfect, but data are showing that something has to change with the current educational system we have.

Charters are successful because they are different. Boulware has two extra hours in our school day. These two extra hours gives us time for extra reading and math instruction for struggling students. Our students also attend school year-round.

The status quo in our traditional schools isn’t working. The more knowledgeable everyone is about other educational options (such as charters) will mean better decisions can be made, and there will be a greater likelihood that children will get the education they deserve.

Kay Abbitt is director of Boulware Springs Charter.

 

 
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