THE TRUTH ABOUT CHARTER SCHOOLS
There are some interesting facts from an audit conducted by the Legislature's accounting office, the Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability.
According to the audit released yesterday, many of the state's publicly supported charter schools are not being held to the state A+ plan or the federal No Child Left Behind requirements.
From the AP story, written by Brent Kallestad:
The charter school contracts and annual reports fail to include information required for the accountability sought by the Legislature and Gov. Jeb Bush.
Student performance also varied, but was evaluated as "poor in one-third of charter schools," reported the Legislature's auditing arm....
Charter schools' contracts generally do not establish clear academic performance expectations and often fail to include outcomes covering all grades served," the report said. "These weaknesses make it difficult for school boards and the general public to hold charter schools accountable.
"Nearly half, 47 percent, of the schools during the 2003-04 school year were not held accountable by the A+ plan because they did not have the required minimum of 30 students taking the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test, while about one of eight schools failed to be accountable under No Child Left Behind.
This report was the third slam against many charter schools in less than five months.
Last September the Florida Department of Education was criticized by it's federal counterpart for mismanaging federal grants for charter schools. A U.S. Department of Education official said that it's issue was with the way FDOE awarded money and allowed local school districts run the program.
And in November the state Auditor General noted that many charter schools ended the 2002-2003 school year with deficits. About a quarter of them had problems with managing staff, and 15 percent had issues tracking spending...including not getting approval for purchases.