Friday, July 6, 2012

Responsibility for Charters

The purpose of charters is to usurp the regulations of school districts and states, which proponents believe will allow them to perform better than traditional public schools. As a result of this, they get to operate without much oversight from the local community though tax money funds them. However, districts are still held responsible for their results. There have been quite a few charter school scandals in Florida, and the one depicted in the Miami Herald story below is one that was almost allowed to continue at the blessing of the Florida Department of Education. 

An appeals court on Thursday struck down a decision by the state Board of Education that had given a troubled Florida City charter school the power to open its doors again after being shut down by the Miami-Dade School District.
In 2010, Miami-Dade school officials closed the Rise Academy after finding a litany of problems at the charter school: unsanitary bathrooms and food storage, a shortage of textbooks, and questionable spending by administrators. The school had no science, social studies, art or writing programs, no student computers, no library — and recess was held on an asphalt parking lot, Miami-Dade officials found.
If Florida is going to allow the charters to do whatever they please and overturn school district's decisions to revoke or reject charters, then the school districts should be released from liability for their performance. There is a case of high-performing Seminole County Schools turning down a charter school because the charter network's existing schools didn't perform as well as Seminole's public schools. The state overturned that decision as well. Yet, Seminole County schools will be held accountable for this school's results. 

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