NEPC Review: Student Achievement in Florida's Charter Schools (Florida Department of Education, March 2019)
In March 2019, the Florida Department of Education published a report titled Student Achievement in Florida’s Charter Schools. The report consists almost entirely of simple graphs comparing achievement levels, achievement gaps, and achievement gains on statewide tests among charter school students to those among traditional public school students. Beyond the odd exercise of counting the number of comparisons that appear favorable to charter schools, the report offers no discussion. The comparisons are not even explained. The fact that the report merely presents comparisons required by law without putting any policy “spin” on them might be considered a virtue. The danger is that the report might encourage erroneous conclusions. The simple comparisons reveal very little about the relative effectiveness of charter schools and still less about other policy questions. At the very least, the report should have clarified the purposes of its comparisons and cautioned the reader against drawing unwarranted conclusions.