Florida Charter Schools do More with Less
Boy, would I like to visit Florida. Walt Disney World, Legoland, and a flourishing assortment of innovative charter schools–what’s there that a five-year old wouldn’t love?
OK, to be honest I’m more excited by the theme parks than the schools, but the growth and success of Florida’s charter schools is like Splash Mountain to my policy nerd friends over at the Independence Institute.
One of the most recent testaments to the success of charter schools in Florida is the Florida Department of Education’s (FLDOE) Student Achievements in Florida’s Charter Schools report.
FLDOE’s report uses 4.2 million test scores from the 2015-2016 school year to compare charter school students to traditional public-school students “in terms of grade level achievement, learning gains, and achievement gap.”
In 84% of the comparisons, students in charter schools had higher grade level performances, and in 85% of comparisons the average learning gains for charter school students were higher.
Florida’s charter schools are thriving; it’s no wonder their enrollment has almost tripled in the last ten years.
And no, the results of this report were not fueled by charter schools filled with preppy white suburban kids. The number of charter school minority students in this study exceeded those in traditional public schools by 6.8%.
In fact, the learning gaps between charter school African-American students and charter school white students, in contrast to the learning gaps between TPS African-American students and TPS white students, were lower for 81.8% of comparisons. Furthermore, the learning gaps between charter school Hispanic students and charter school white students were lower for 100% of comparisons–that’s right, all of them.
Despite receiving notoriously less funding than traditional public schools in past years, Florida’s charter schools have made exceptional strides. According to FLDOE’s research, they have predominantly surpassed traditional public schools. Once again, charter schools in the sunshine state have done more with less.