The Fort Meyers News-Press wants to know about the remarkable drop in the school grade of a local charter school:
The shocking plunge of Lee Charter Academy from the A grade the state gave it for three straight years to an F this year demands answers.
Violent fluctuations in the grades raise questions about whether testing is being administered properly, or whether the testing system itself is reliable – or both.
The Florida Department of Education has been investigating three teachers for at least six months, according to Academy Principal Shirley Chapman. Lee schools Chief Academic Officer Connie Jones confirmed the investigation related to state testing.
The education department must explain itself. We encourage new Lee County schools Superintendent Joseph Burke, who starts his job today, to get to the bottom of this and inform the public.
It’s not been a pleasant past 24 hours for Florida charter schools and its most prominent cheerleaders, Rick Scott and Jeb Bush. Scott learned yesterday that the charter school where he signed his education reform bill received an “F” while Bush’s “Florida Way” presentation for state legsilatures was thoroughly smacked down by a well-respected think tank.
The shadow of cheating falls upon the Lee Charter Academy as the News-Press reveals three teachers are under investigation for testing-related issues. As no more information is given, one can only speculate on the nature of both the investigation but the test scores as well.
But if those of us who believe that poverty matters in outcomes, Lee Charter Academy provides just that.
Historically, high-minority and low-income schools get lower test scores. About 93 percent of Academy students are eligible for the federal government’s free and reduced-price lunch program, the measure of student poverty
This is an astonishing percentage of impoverished kids in one building, so the failing grade doesn’t surprise professional educators. Only among the “no-excuses” crowd are such numbers mocked and dismissed.
Cheating and demographics aside, Floridians are getting more evidence that charters are not the sort of panacea that school reformers what them to believe.