The Florida Charter School Alliance (FCSA), a non-profit support and advocacy organization, created this fact sheet to provide clarity about HB 7069, an exciting education bill.
“HB7069 supports classroom teachers and public school students,” explains Lynn Norman-Teck, executive director, FCSA. “It recognizes that for far too long there’s been a funding disparity between students who attend a district-run school and those who choose to attend a charter school, and tries to correct that.” There is other good policy in the bill, including:
- Allows student exam concordant scores to be used for grading alternative schools. This is particularly important for schools assessed using the School Improvement Rating (SIR).
- Revises eligibility for Florida Best and Brightest Teacher Scholarship Program – providing bonuses for teachers who are rated highly effective and effective during yearly evaluations, and opens the program up to principals.
- Ensures critical Title I Funding reaches all eligible students and the schools that serve them.
- Encourages equity in funding allocation through a shared local millage revenue formula that benefits all public school students.
- Addresses teacher shortage: Streamlines the temporary certificate application process; establishes mentorship certification pathway, and extends a temporary certificate for one additional year if teacher is rater highly effective.
- Encourages high-performing charter schools to open in an area where there is a persistently low-performing school and serve students from that school.
- Gives school principals from the state’s highest performing schools flexibility through the Schools of Excellence Program.
- Eliminates Algebra II End of Course (EOC) assessment requirement for high school graduation.
- Allows completion of blended learning course to satisfy online course requirement.
- Requires paper-pencil English Language Arts and Math assessments for grades 3-6, no later than 2018-2019 school year.
- Provides that the use of the Value Added Model (VAM score) for personnel evaluation is optional.
- Pushes back test dates to give teachers and students more time to learn.
Why the Florida Charter School Alliance & our member schools support HB7069:
A report released in April 2017 by the Florida Department of Education shows that charter school students are outperforming the peers at district-run schools. In 65 of 77 comparisons, students enrolled in charter schools demonstrated higher rates of grade level performance (scoring a level 3 or above on the statewide assessment), and in 82 or 96 comparisons, the percentage of students making learning gains was higher in charter schools. Although test scores are not the only measure of success, this report is a good indication that charter schools are raising student achievement across the state and helping students succeed.
Yet, for twenty years, the students we serve have been grossly underfunded.
There are more than 270,000 students currently enrolled in charter schools in Florida. Every one of those students chose to attend a charter and they are penalized for it because they receive less per-student funding than their peers who attend a district-run public school. According to a 2012 TaxWatch Report, “The absence of equitable local funding for both operational and capital purposes creates a significant financial disadvantage for Florida charter schools. Charter schools may receive just 68 to 71 percent of what districts receive per student.” In 2014-15, school districts more than $2 billion dollars in capital funding (that includes Public Education Capital Outlay (PECO), mileage and other capital sources) went to district run schools. Eligible charter schools across the state shared $75 million in PECO.
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About FCSA – The Florida Charter School Alliance (FCSA) works on behalf of our member schools and the students and parents they serve to defend school choice. Formed in 2010 by a group of educators, community leaders, and philanthropists, the FCSA is a non-profit member-driven support and advocacy organization whose mission is to improve student achievement, and promote/defend school choice and parental choice by advocating for and collaborating with high-quality public charter schools.