Florida: How Charter Schools Are Used to Hide Dropouts and Game the System

Diane Ravitch's blog

Heather Vogell and Hannah Fresques published an important piece of investigative journalism that appears in ProPublica and USA Today about a new twist on the charter scamming in Florida. The scam is the result of Jeb Bush’s high-stakes accountability system, which incentivizes schools to get rid of low-performing students in order to maintain their letter grades and rankings.

Here is the shorthand: School officials nationwide dodge accountability ratings by steering low achievers to alternative programs. In Orlando, Florida, the nation’s tenth-largest district, thousands of students who leave alternative charters run by a for-profit company aren’t counted as dropouts. Is this why nationwide graduation rates are going up? Is this what Arne Duncan claimed credit for?

It begins like this:

TUCKED AMONG POSH GATED COMMUNITIES, and meticulously landscaped shopping centers, Olympia High School in Orlando offers more than two dozen Advanced Placement courses, even more afterschool clubs, and an array of…

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