MIAMI (CBS4) – In his first visit to South Florida as governor, Rick Scott visited Florida International Academy, a charter school operated with public money by a private, for-profit company.  Scott – a big charter school booster – said the school in Opa Locka could serve as a model for the rest of the state.

But in FCAT grades released last week, Florida International Academy’s elementary school scored an “F.”

In Miami-Dade, a greater percentage of charter schools failed than public schools.

Every school that got an “F” in Broward County was a charter school.

Statewide the failure rate of charter schools versus public schools is striking.

A CBS4 News analysis of Department of Education numbers shows fewer than one percent of public elementary and middle schools received an “F” in grades released last week.  In contrast, nearly six percent of charter schools received an “F.”

Charter schools got failing grades at a rate more than seven times that of public schools.

Critics of corporate-run schools are saying, “I told you so.”

Pat Santeramo, president of the Broward Teachers Union, said the boom in privately-run charter schools is a growing drain on the public education system.

“It’s public dollars, taxpayers’ dollars, coming out of the public school system and going into a for-profit charter school,” Santeramo told CBS4’s Gary Nelson.

The news of the failure rate among charter schools had some taxpayers re-thinking the privatization of education.

“They need to be productive.  If they cannot supply good grades, if the students cannot get good grades, then we should not support them,” said Ruben Mendiola, sipping a Cuban coffee at El Tropico Restaurant in Doral.  “They need to produce.”

Just last week, Governor Scott was in South Florida – at another charter school – signing a host of bills that will allow the expansion of the schools in the state and vouchers for some students to attend private schools.

In response to a CBS4 News inquiry about charter school performance on the FCAT, a spokesperson for Scott released a statement saying that the governor “supports giving parents and students more choice…and supporting good charter schools is one way of making that happen.”

That was greeted with cynicism by Santeramo of the teachers union.

“Parents have to realize that the funding of that charter school could be going into the pockets of a corporate friend of the governor, or a corporate friend of a friend,” Santeramo said.

Principal Sonia Mitchell at the Florida International Academy stressed in a telephone interview that the Academy’s middle school scored a “B” on the FCAT.  Mitchell said the “F” rated elementary school – that shares the same campus and administration with the middle school – has been open for only a year.

“It’s going to take some time for me to get these children up to where they need to be,” Mitchell said.

Comments (9)
  1. ScottWillSaveUs AND UnionsSuck says:

    Thats because the Broward School District is siphoning money out of the constituencies that have charter schools.

    Tax payers should be given the opportunity to decide if their property taxes should go to Broward Schools or go to their city charter schools. Doesn’t the Broward Union guy know that the Charter schools teachers are also part of their union?

    What they need to do is disband the teachers Union and let each teacher fend for themselves like everyone else that doesn’t have TAX SUCKING jobs.

    Then we can fire all the lousy teachers, keep the good ones and hire new teachers with the caveat that, if you don’t perform you will be fired. Thats how it works in the real world.

    1. Atheist says:

      You’re misinformed about the teachers at charter schools being part of the union. In fact non of the charter schools are part of the union in any way, shape. or form.

      The union is only for the Public sector school teachers. The private sector charter schools would have to set up their own independent unions. Sorry learn before you type and spread your misinformed self.

      Maybe just maybe the school system is broke is because we under pay and under staff schools. Instead of cutting education we should be increasing it. We are failing the future of our country.


      PS- I’m not a teacher nor do I care to become one (Just for your info)

    2. SaveOurSchools says:

      I am betting that the comment above has been posted by a paid blogger funded by some right-wing conservative “think tank” . They are compensated to spend their days trolling local Florida articles to post misinformation and stir up anti-state worker sentiment with this tyop of rhetoric. (Check your local Craigslist employment opprtunities under writing/editing jobs for proof of their existence.) This is fa ull scale assualt, and the powers that be who want to destroy public education will stop at nothing to acheive theri goals, includeing spreading false propaganda at every turn.

  2. Juan L Vinageras says:

    After reading the article (I am not agreeing or disagreeing with it and I have a lot of respect for the media) all I would like to know is where can I find the official documentation showing the failures school by school (public and charter)for the entire state of Florida. Not an article, but the state records and then I will be satisfied. I am sure that there is plenty of supporting documentation for this article and I have no doubts about it but I would like to arrive at my own conclussions after examining the data. Any ideas where these records can be found?

    1. gary nelson says:

      You can get all the public and charter school information in raw, and relatively difficult to decipher form, at the Florida Department of Education’s website.

  3. Invest in public schools! says:

    Everyone benefits from a properly educated society. Everyone benefits from our children being better educated and employable. If you think investing in education is a waste of your tax dollars, you’re so so so so wrong. In my opinion, education is the best thing you can spend money on.

  4. Steph says:

    FLDOE – Just Google that, then you can look up scores by county, school, do comparisons, etc. High school grades aren’t out yet.
    And just to be honest, I’m a teacher, and a parent, and I think people profiting from children is disgusting. Rick Scott is disgusting, and the lawmakers who are promoting charter schools because their family members are in the business of profiting from children are disgusting. That’s your money they’re stealing.

  5. A. Hostetter says:

    I find it compelling and biased that the fact that the school that Nelson focused on has been open for one year, and he only mentioned it in the last line of the article. Did that seem off to anyone else?

    I am a public school teacher but I find the stalwart guarding of the government-run education system in a capitalist society humorous. I LOVE my students, but the public school system is one of the most inefficient bureaucracies that exists in our country. Why such a pushback when people seek a way to get better results?

    Again: coming from a teacher who loves her students and appreciates her coworkers, but still doesn’t see the logic behind the biased pushback in this article.

    The stat on 6% of charter schools receiving at F as compared to 1% of public schools is statistically relevant and worth exploring. Repeatedly touting the failure of a school its first year, on the other hand, is not.