Here are some more random facts. Over 370 charter schools have taken public money and closed leaving communities and students in a lurch and most charter schools now open in affluent neighborhoods, the pretense of helping poor students trapped by zip codes all but abandoned.
A recent report outlined just how bad and corrupt the charter industry and Tallahassee have become.
From the Orlando Weekly
A new report from a Tallahassee-based research group raises questions about the growing role of charter schools in Florida, including citing the closure of 373 charter schools since 1998.
Ben Wilcox, research director for the group Integrity Florida, said the closure of charter schools has averaged nearly 20 a year “and that comes with a cost to taxpayers.”
“When a charter school closes, it is often difficult to get taxpayer funds back,” Wilcox said. “A closure can cause severe problems for a school district which must absorb the displaced students.”
The report showed 160 charter schools failed between 2012 and 2017, with 35 closing in 2015-2016.
“Some have failed because they faced financial pressure due to overestimated enrollment, others because of financial mismanagement and others for academic reasons,” the report said.
Another trend cited in the report is the rise of for-profit companies that manage the schools and can also be involved in leasing school sites. As of 2017, the report showed 294, or 45 percent, of the schools were being managed by for-profit companies. The for-profit schools have nearly doubled since 2010-2011, when there were 150 charter schools operated by for-profit entities.
Wilcox said “lax regulation of charter schools has created opportunities for corporate profiteering, financial mismanagement, fraud and criminal corruption.”
“In regards to campaign finance, we found that charter school interests have given $13 million in Florida to candidates, committees and parties since 1998,” Ashwell said. Ashwell says that doesn’t include the cost of hiring lobbyists. “The lobbyist expenditures, we found they spent more than $8 million on legislative lobbyists in Florida between 2007 and 2017,” Ashwell said. “Spending has increased steadily overtime, with spikes in 2013 and 2015. During this period, 10 companies alone spent $5 million hiring 262 lobbyists.”
From the report,
Efforts by the charter school industry to shape policies in their favor have been aided in recent years by officials in the Florida Legislature who stand to benefit directly from the expansion of this education model. A number of high-powered legislators have either worked for charter schools or charter companies or had immediate family members involved with charters.
Despite all the advantages, despite the fact many pick who they take and keep, charter schools as a group perform worse than our public schools, but still the republican legislature treats our public schools like a red headed step child who drank the last diet coke.
From the Orlando Sentinel,
Charter schools are an alluring concept. I get it, but the way Florida does it, they are nothing but an abomination.
People getting rich off some of our children while cutting public schools to the bone. Dubious innovation and unfair regulations are the name of the game
It’s time Florida woke up and said enough.