Florida ranks eighth in the nation for laws which promote innovation, equal funding and ease of expansion of charter schools, according to a ranking from the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Education Reform.
That moves Florida up two places from last year’s report as the Sunshine State improved its score slightly.
Among the short-comings in the CER rankings? Florida does not allow enough independent groups to authorize charter schools, most of which must be approved by local school districts. That puts schools districts in the position of approving schools they may see as competition for public funding.
Florida also scores lower than other states for funding charter school facilities. The legislature has set aside money in the state budget, but a proposal requiring school districts share local construction and maintenance dollars was rejected by the legislature.
Florida scores well for the number of schools allowed — there’s no limit — and for “teacher freedom,” the ability of charter schools to set their own teaching policies outside of union contract negotiations.
The Center for Education Reform is a school advocacy group which favors policies that expand the availability of charter schools and other choice options and also promotes the use of virtual and online learning.