Don’t be misled. Charter schools are public schools. It says it clearly in State Statute 1002.33: “All charter schools in Florida are public schools and shall be part of the state’s program of public education.”
To help our members schools and stakeholders spread truth, and respond to misinformation, we put together points that address the deceiving and inaccurate Charter Schools Aren’t Public School campaign (February 2019).
- Students who attend a charter school ARE public school students, and their teachers ARE public school teachers.
- We respect a parent’s right to choose a school that best meets the needs and talents of a student. Teachers also deserve the right to choose.
- Support for school choice: According to a poll conducted by the American Federation for Children, 63% of Likely 2018 Voters support school choice — including 41% who strongly support it. 77% of Latinos, 67% of whites, 56% of African Americans, 75% of Republicans, 62% of Independents, and 54% of Democrats also support school choice.
- All charter schools are a 501(c)(3), non profit organization, as outlined by the US Internal Revenue.
- 88% of low-income parents support having a charter school in their community, National Alliance for Public Charter Schools survey, 2016.
- There is only one side to be on: the side of kids and teachers.
- Florida’s system of public education offers quality choice options to families and all types of learners. One size does not fit all.
- Charter school parents are tax payers.
- Since 1996, School Boards across the state have approved high-quality charter school applications that have permitted charter schools to be among the many quality public educational options available to families in Florida.
- Public charter schools are required to help their students make academic gains – and must continue to show student academic progress to remain open.
- “Charter schools are public schools that operate under a performance contract, or a ‘charter’ which frees them from many regulations created for traditional public schools while holding them accountable for academic and financial results.” – Florida Department of Education, FAQ.
- Charter school in Florida get 71 cents on the dollar for district schools – Tax Watch 2017
- Public charter schools fully participate in the state’s education accountability program.
- Florida Statutes require that teachers employed by or under contract with a charter school be certified in the same manner as all other public school teachers in Florida.
- PECO is the only facilities funding a charter school receives. District schools receive facilities funding from a variety of sources including:
- 100% of their local property tax/mileage
- State allocated PECO funds
- Certificate of Participation Bonds or other bonds to finance building projects
- When discussing the tax referendum prior to the vote, MDCPS Superintendent Carvahlo said “…the new funding will supplement the salaries of classroom teachers” – Miami Herald, October 3, 2018
- Miami Dade voters approved a referendum for all public school teachers. When surveyed, 76% said they were not aware whether public charter school students and teachers would be included or excluded in the distribution of the tax funds. – National Victory Strategies, December 2018.
- A study by Education Cities and GreatSchools identified public schools were the achievement gap is particularly low, or nonexistent. 70% of the Miami-Dade County schools listed in the report were charter schools.
- Charter schools are evaluated and assigned a school grade using the same standards and criteria as traditional public schools.
- In order to receive capital outlay/facilities funding from the state, a charter school must have financial stability for future operation; and satisfactory student achievement.
- Using 2015-2016 data, the Florida Department of Education released Student Achievement in Florida’s Charter Schools: A Comparison of the Performance of Charter School Students with Traditional Public School Students — a report that made 195 comparisons in three areas: absolute achievement, learning gains and achievement gaps among students attending district-run schools and charter schools.
- In 65 of the 77 comparisons, students enrolled in charter schools demonstrated higher rates of grade level performance (scoring a level three or above on the statewide assessment).
- The percentage of students making learning gains was higher in charter schools in 82 of the 96 comparisons.
- The achievement gap section of the report contains data that are used to analyze the learning gap between white students and African-American students, and white student and Hispanic students in English Language Arts, Mathematics, and Science and Social Studies. In 22 separate comparisons, the achievement gap was lower for charter school students in 20 of the comparisons.
- 76 % of registered voters (Miami-Dade) surveyed said they were not aware whether public charter school students and teachers would be included or excluded in the distribution of the tax funds. Poll conducted by National Victory Strategies, December 2018
- In the 2017-2018 school year, 67% of charter schools earned an A or B in the state assessment.
- “Opponents cannot believe that there are some families for whom their child’s residentially assigned public school is a poor fit. They cannot believe that people who have the freedom to choose in so many other aspects of their lives might also want to choose their child’s school. They cannot believe that there are people with diverse views about how children should be educated and what values should be taught and want their schools to reflect them. And they cannot possibly believe that people who freely chose to send their child to a school might be satisfied with it and would object to losing that opportunity.” – A Million Little Mutinies, Mike McShane
Media contact: Lynn Norman-Teck, Lynn@flcharteralliance.org, (305) 216-6208.