Public Charter School Movement in Florida Ranked Among Best in Nation

“We have made great strides in Florida," explains Robert Haag, President, Florida Consortium of Public Charter Schools (FCPCS). Our charter schools have contributed to the state’s academic progress – increased gains especially among minority students and reduced learning gaps, and some charter schools have even been ranked among the best in the nation. There is more work to be done but we have been making incredible progress. Meanwhile, FCPCS is working diligently to get districts and charter schools to join forces towards the common goal of improving education statewide through the FCPCS Quality Charter School Authorizer Task Force. ”

Press Release from the National Alliance of Public Charter Schools

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools today unveiled a new report that ranks the “health” of the public charter school movement in 26 states across the country. Focusing on the factors essential for a strong charter school movement such as growth, quality, and innovation, this report ranks Florida 11th.

The Health of the Public Charter School Movement: A State-by-State Analysis is a companion to the National Alliance’s annual rankings that evaluate each state’s charter school law. Expanding beyond the work of evaluating state laws, this new annual report utilizes 11 different measures to determine how well a state’s charter schools are performing, innovating, and growing.

“This report provides an important framework for us to determine the overall health of the charter school movement in each state,” said National Alliance President and CEO Nina Rees. “We are pleased to expand our work to address the question of how states are growing and strengthening their public charter schools and expect that this report will become a meaningful benchmark of the charter school movement each year.”

In the first-ever rankings, Washington, D.C. joins Louisiana in topping the list of the 26 states that were evaluated, while Nevada and Oregon found themselves at the bottom of the rankings.

The report found that Florida scored relatively well on indicators such as:

• 16 percent of the state’s public schools were charters in 2013-14. • The state’s public charter schools served a higher percentage of racial and ethnic minority students when compared with traditional public schools in 2012-13 (six percentage points more). • 328 charters opened in Florida between 2009-10 and 2013-14. • 92 charters closed in Florida between 2008-09 and 2012-13.

However, the report scored Florida charters relatively low for serving a lower percentage of free- and reduced-price lunch students when compared with traditional public schools in 2012-13 and for exhibiting lower academic growth when compared with traditional public school students in reading, looking at the most recent year of student academic growth data available from 2010-11.

The report also calls for the state to change its law to enhance its funding and facilities support to charters, as well as to explore why public charter schools are serving a lower percentage of free- and reduced-price lunch students.

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