NEA issues Florida failing grade for charter school oversight

Report card finds troubles with accountability nationwide.

The nation’s largest teachers union gave Florida charter schools a failing grade for oversight, and did the same for most states in the union.

The National Education Association on Thursday released a new report, State Charter Statutes: NEA Report Card,” scrutinizing charter schools nationwide.

Teachers looked at the 44 states allowing charters, along with Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C. The report card gives all but six states a failing grade. Florida gets a 45 out of 100.

Florida Education Association Fedrick Ingram said that goes to show the inequity of charter schools: “Whenever we talk about schools, the bottom line is always the students,” he said.

“The reality is charter schools choose who they teach, and they teach a far smaller percentage of students with disabilities and kids living in poverty than neighborhood public schools. This separate and unequal system of charter schools is creating haves and have-nots — something that should never exist in public education.”

The NEA report judged schools on four major criteria: Public access; accountability and transparency; school board oversight; and quality education.

Florida rose above the eight states graded as “Abysmal,” and certainly scored better than D.C. schools, which stood in its own category of “Worst.”

Still, the Sunshine State ranked near the bottom of those 21 states ranked as “Very Poor.”

As for a breakdown, Florida schools did earn perfect scores as far as accountability. That’s because the publicly-funded schools must abide by Florida’s Sunshine Law with open meetings and records, and the schools are subject to audits.

But the state gets slammed for allow for-profit entities to run charter schools and for allowing charter school boards to contract with private management contractors.

The NEA also said charter schools should allow a single public agency to authorize charter schools. The stated scores a 1 of 6 as far as assessing the racial impacts of opening charter schools prior to authorization.

Florida does require charter schools to be certified, and students face the same state assessments as those in traditional school.

FEA leaders say the report shows Florida fails to provide a uniform and efficient education to students by allowing for-profit charter schools.

NEA leaders, meanwhile, say the poor performance of charters nationwide shows how the concept has ultimately failed to meet expectations.

“Charter schools were started by educators who dreamed of schools in which they would be free to innovate, unfettered by bureaucratic obstacles,” NEA President Lily Eskelsen García said.

“Handing over students’ education to privately managed, unaccountable charters jeopardizes student success, undermines public education and harms communities. As the report card shows, Florida’s leaders have a long way to go to ensure that charter schools actually function to improve public education offerings for students. This study provides them with a path to accountability.”

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected].


  • Cogent Observer

    May 9, 2019 at 4:17 pm

    What else would one expect union lackeys to say?

  • Jan

    May 9, 2019 at 5:09 pm

    “Handing over students’ education to privately managed, unaccountable charters jeopardizes student success, undermines public education and harms communities.

    Florida Public Schools: accountable to state for spending, mandated standardized testing, paying licensed teachers based on union negotiated salary, requiring teachers to teach to state department standards, follow pupil progression laws, following laws requiring Publics to provide special services to SLD, EMH, Behavior disorder, ESOL, ADHD, Physically handicapped, 504 Plan students. And most of all, to take every student who walks through the door. Schools don’t fail: students, parents and communities fail.

    Charter Schools: None of the above.

    Unless you have been in the Florida Public Schools like have have for 35 years, you have no idea what challenges the Public School faces every hour of every day. This requires the full legislative financial and public support. Why else is there a teacher shortage throughout Florida.

    Charters, Privates and Religious Schools make many promises to make parents happy–until the student has to take the national ACT or SAT for college admission.

  • Cogent Observer

    May 9, 2019 at 5:59 pm

    I have no doubt that you, and many other teachers, were both dedicated and proficient. Yet there are many teachers within and outside of the public sector who are not. The problem is not people like you being teachers. The problem is that an entity such as the NEA, essentially a union, insists on keeping poor performers in the classroom as though they had a right to the job. The kids are held hostage by that power-play, particularly those that need the special attention to which you refer.

    Respectfully, you also overlook another vital point. If formal education continues to be mandated by law to a certain age or grade level, if there only exist government operated schools to deliver it, only government sanctioned information will be delivered. In the realm of subjects like mathematics and hard sciences, there is not much room for interpretation of subject-matter. However, in areas such as history, civics, and religion (if religion is taught at all), there is much room for interpretation. While to my thinking, parents have an obligation to provide education at home, many cannot or do not for a variety of reasons. The ability of a parent to send a child to the school of his/her choice to obtain the kind of education that the parent thinks best is preferable than inculcating a child with a government-required curriculum that is necessarily tainted with politics.

    I don’t care for organized religion myself, but, for example, if a parent chooses to send a child to a church-related school, it is really none of my business; nor is it your’s. By removing the element of choice, you insist on imposing your views on others. In the more customary organized labor (union) parlance, you seem to be advocating for a “closed shop.”

  • Dan

    May 9, 2019 at 7:38 pm

    The NEA and any other unelected self serving Socialist Indoctrination Societies have no authority nor right to grade anyone. Results Count and the NEA doesn’t. More kids are far more successful from all environments and backgrounds going to charter schools. In general, they are far better educated at less than half the price than schools with Unions in charge to baby sit instead of teaching. The public educators complain because they can’t pass a high school math test and are dismissed by hundreds. I guess they go to Georgia or start waiting tables, at least they don’t have to make change.

Comments are closed.


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