The exaggeration of charter school waiting lists

No doubt there are excellent charter schools in the country where the waiting lists are very, very long. But there also are instances where waiting lists aren’t exactly as long as they appear.

That became clear at a recent legislative hearing in Florida, when charter school lobbyist Jim Horne gave public testimony on a charter school bill, which includes a measure that some people are calling a land grab. It would require Florida school systems to offer, free of charge, the use of empty or half-empty public school buildings to charter nonprofit and for-profit school operators.

Blogger Bob Sikes reports that Horne said that there are 80,000 children on waiting lists for charter schools. State Rep. Kionne L. McGhee (D) questioned the number, at which point Horne started to back pedal. Under questioning, a Florida Department of Education official conceded that the waiting list figures had come from the charter schools. And then, a Miami-Dade County official pointed out that some students appear on more than one waiting list.

You can watch the hearing by clicking here and finding the video for the Feb. 6 meeting; the discussion starts about a half-hour in.

 

 

 

Valerie Strauss covers education and runs The Answer Sheet blog.
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Valerie Strauss | February 10, 2013