Charters Win Again: New Brow Students Abandon Traditional Schools





Broward parents continue to send their children to charter schools in droves.

Charter school enrollment grew by 3,190 this school year, according to a memo from Superintendent Robert Runcie.

The traditional public schools grew only by 205 students.

Even worse is that Broward’s total enrollment since 2011 has increased from 258,803 to 268,836.  But the traditional schools’ enrollment has actually declined in those years, which encompasses Runcie’s reign — from 229,314 to 225,554.

You can decide why.

My take:

Tighter discipline enforces a greater emphasis on education.  Kids acting out can be thrown out.

Also, charters can dump non-performing staff easier than traditional schools.

They offer a choice and parents are choosing to abandon the traditional school system.

Charters are not the panacea for education. No one idea can solve all the problems.

Teachers in charters are often less experienced and are paid less.  Many charters are run poorly, but those are mostly the ones not operated by major chains with a track record.

Yet many parents push those concerns aside for the better classroom atmosphere that many charters provide.

Almost one-in-five Broward students now attend charter.

The only reason more students don’t leave the traditional system:  They can’t get into charters.



17 Responses to “Charters Win Again: New Brow Students Abandon Traditional Schools”

  1. Rebecca Dahl says:


    I worked as a principal in Imagine Charter Schools for 2 years and this management company followed the rules. I have to tell you some of the information you listed above is not true according to state laws, but they do happen. A child cannot be dismissed because of poor behavior. If the Charter Office is informed of this action, they will take action. Some of the charters dismiss students when FTE is over. The charter school gets the money for the student but the public school gets to educate the child. The charter schools really are not stricter in behavior but some send students home without an external suspension, they just tell them to come back in a few days. One of the things that help the charters is the requirement, which they can legally do, is parents must support their children by voluntering in the school. One other thing I saw in Imagine Charter Schools was the teachers spent so much of their own time, without receiving compensation, to help the children do well in their school work. The teachers were paid less but worked more. I was amazed at their dedication. Charters have a place, but it is a sad commentary on Broward Public Schools which continue to lose students. Broward needs to wake up and figure out what Charter is doing right which is not happening in public schools.

  2. Andrew Ladanowski says:

    Rebecca Dahl made nice brief and unbiased comments. Biggest concern I have with charter schools now is in the comment she made “The teachers were paid less but worked more. I was amazed at their dedication.” Critics will say it’s because charters are out to make money. The reality is currently charter schools receive about on 70% of the money a typical public schools receives per student. I would strongly support where there would be a 50k minimum wage for teachers and equitable funding for charter schools.

  3. Andrew Ladanowski says:

    Second comment. Need to look where those additional students came from for charter schools. Did private schools convert to charter schools or were they really students that came from the public schools that are now going to charter? I must disclose I am strong supporter of choice. We also need to analyze which parents choose charter schools and why. Is it students who were initially struggling in public schools, being bullied in public schools, what made the parent want to make this choice.


    If I ran a business that was bleeding customers like the Broward Schools, I would have done a study long ago to find the answers to the questions you posed.

    The truth is that the Broward Schools, hide-bound by unimaginative bureaucrats and methodologies that don’t work, have done little to compete with charters.

  4. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    There is no mystery about Broward Public, students from uneducated, poor backgrounds don’t have good study habits, tend to have discipline issues with authority, and are not interested in things like the professions or science or the arts.
    Moreover, rundown schools and having classes in trailers is about as bad a physical environment as you can get, and that contributes to the depressing situation.
    In some communities – like the all White one where the parents sent their students to Europe last summer, even with bad grades the wealthy parents have the resources to have extra tutors and help for their students or transfer them out of the Public System.
    Broward County is just unlike we have too many poor and no wealthy, politically active individuals who care what happens to the poor as they go from 10,000 dollar fundraiser to another one!
    If the rich and powerful don’t care about poor students, why is anyone surprised nothing changes?

  5. A reader says:

    Traditional public schools do a great job providing appropriate education for students at the top of the academic spectrum and for those with severe disabilities.
    Charter schools and magnet programs within traditional schools prefer to work with students who perform academically at the 50th percentile (average ability) and above.

    That leaves the rest of the students: the slow learners who perform well below average because of lack of ability to learn, the unmotivated, the disruptive and the disrespectful, those with a specific learning disability who might be proficient in reading but not in math, and those who just do not care.
    Educational standards are of no concern to students who do not want an education and are too difficult for students who have learning problems to master.Students have never and will never fit into the “one size fits all” box.

    Part of the answer in fixing public schools is to provide an education for students with learning problems. Take out the political correctness in worrying about labels and give the students room to be successful with the skills they possess. Another answer is to involve the entire school staff, the parents, and the students in building a behavior code with rights and responsibilities. Such a program weeds out the real discipline problems and the unmotivated and some who do not care follow their peers in participating in classwork. Broward Schools once spent millions on such a program. It worked, but was killed by administration changes.

    Tradtional public schools can improve. Traditional public schools have all the resources to do so. Leadership is needed from educators, not politicians.

  6. Ha Ha Ha says:

    Andrew Ladanowski isn’t just a “strong supporter of choice”; he’s deeply embedded in the system!

    …Andrew Ladanowski, parent of a Coral Springs Charter School student, sits on their Advisory Board…

    That’s quoted from the Tamarac Talk article “Charter Schools USA Founder Won’t Put his Own Children In His Schools”…

  7. Chaz Stevens, MAOS says:

    FROM BUDDY: If I ran a business that was bleeding customers like the Broward Schools

    1. They don’t run it like a business, they run it like a gov’t operation

    2. They run it like a monopoly

    3. They run it like there’s a never-ending bucket of cash pouring in the door

    Do you really think they give a flying fuck what the commoner thinks?

    If yes, then kindly review #3.


    That’s the problem, Chaz. Lori Parrish has successfully revamped the Property Appraiser’s Office, in part, by treating taxpayers as valued customers.

    The public schools don’t treat parents and students as customers, even though there is competition for the business. So they lose — either tax dollars from Tallahassee, which go with the student to the charter, or tuitions for private schools.

  8. Pembroke Pines Commissioner Jay Schwartz says:

    Not all Charter Schools are the same. The Pembroke Pines Charter School Teachers belong to the BTU. We are proud of our A-Rated system. We believe all public schools should be A-Rated with a safe and clean environment, teachers should be paid more than what the current starting salaries are, and the State of Florida properly fund every child equally. The City of Pembroke Pines believes in Charter School Reform measures that protects taxpayer money. The link below is an excerpt from 9-16-15 regarding the state of Public Education in Broward County.

  9. Mia says:

    The problem is poverty. It makes me sad to leave teaching after 37 years in Broward. We have bullying from parents and administrators and the teachers get the blame. Charters are a band aid for brain surgery. Public Schools are being destroyed and there’s no end in sight. I will pray for the new teachers that are still enthusiastic and love children.

  10. Its sad says:

    The system is unchanging…the staffers wait for this admin to change. They know that a supt only lasts a few years. Hide, say what they want to hear, and their job is mostly secure. That’s not leadership. Runcie has/had the opportunity to fix this…from downtown to the schoolhouse, he could change. But that would mean going from having soldiers as AP’s, principals, directors, etc., to having meaningful conversations with the brilliant people who have been stymied. I know there are some admin out there that know the product could be better, but can’t do anything about it because they will lose any chance at moving forward. Charters are not tied down…they are smaller, sleeker and can adapt quickly. Customer service is a double edged sword, too. I want an honest assessment from my doctor, not one that makes me feel good so I don’t start problems…teachers know the problem, but it seems like they are the last to be consulted. Ask one and they will give you ten reasonable ways that would bring students back to public schools. Buddy, if the school system won’t do it, why not ask the question on your site…what would teachers do to fix the problem? They could at least be free to answer.

  11. Andrew Ladanowski says:

    @6 I am a volunteer on the advisory Board. @6 maybe you should volunteer in the the educational system. I wouldn’t consider myself Deeply embedded more than a parent being involved in the PTA. It’s a volunteer position with a monthly meeting. I was deeply involved in Broward Public schools Facilities Task Force for over 10 years. In summary according to @6 I am embedded in public education. Charter or Broward Schools same thing to me. I am involved.

  12. Charlotte Greenbarg says:

    Chaz is spot on. Nothing changes, even when several grand juries castigate the district.

    The state needed to step in after the last one, but then-Senator Nan Rich stopped it from happening because of her friendship with Sen. Don Gaetz.

    The charters will continue to take the population until only the bones remain. And the educrats and board members such as Broward’s (not all of them) brought it on themselves.

  13. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    Every liberal Jewish Democrat and Gay/Lesbian activist who supported Nan Rich for Governor or now County Commission should look into the mirror and see a supporter of a corrupt School Board that short changes Black n poor White n Hispanic Students. Nan Rich has never done a useful thing except spout phoney politically correct klapptrack!

  14. Commissioner Angelo Castillo says:


    Competition in public education is healthy thing, not a harmful one.

    Parent choice brings out the best in public education. In fact, parent choice is the best friend public education ever had because it fights the tendency of the public school monopoly to be lazy like nothing else can. It makes the monopoly earn market share and when you force that scenario, improvement in quality is inevitable. Simple economics.

    Despite horribly low funding levels for all public schools in Florida, despite the funding discrimination that abusive school boards aim at charters in a futile effort to kill or punish parent choice, despite a host of other frustrating issues, the fact remains that Florida’s public education system is doing a better job today educating public school students than it did 20 years ago. today. Much better.

    Now, you’re free to call that and the similutaneous rise in charter schools a coincidence. You can entirely refute the suggestion that that charters have played an important role in improving educational standards statewide if you want. You can deny it utterly.

    It makes no difference.

    The result speak for itself. A high quality education is the most important thing a parent can give their child, apart from the developmental assets they receive at home. On this all important thing parents will not be fooled by political rhetoric and the numbers prove that fact.

    While many district schools are trying to cope with vacant seats, most charter schools are fully filled and some, like those my city runs, have thousands of kids on waiting lists who did not get selected for admission by lottery.

    Whenever a rare seat comes available, few if any on that waiting list refuse. They switch their kid immediately and feel great about doing it.

    Now if you want to know why that’s true, ASK them. Ask the parents. Don’t fear it, ask them why and they will tell you.

    I root for the success of all public schools. Why? Because high quality public education is good for our society and is also a chief driver of economic development.

    I want all public schools to succeed for their students, district or charter, and I see a true working partnership between them that could happen today if only the monopolists would get out of the way. The partnership would spell better public education for all. Yet such is the power of entitlement to a monopoly over public education, which no longer exists and is gone forever. Even the will of parents, much less the continued improvement in educational quality, is placed second or third in importance to their own personal interests.

    We see the same dynamic play out with every monopoly. It’s a quintessential Greek Tragedy yet we know how all those stories end.



    Angelo, amen.

  15. Reggie says:

    How are the people in these comments crowing about the greatness of charter schools reacting to the one in broward that just got caught firing all their teachers, getting substitutes with no scheduling, and not educating kids for weeks at the cost of 750,000 taxpayer dollars?

    Shocking waste of money and abrogation of duties contribute to a future where Florida children are going to be dumber than others. I personally run a 3900 person business and never ever hire southerners because I spend way too much time/money educating them in basic math and problem solving. It’s a real problem you HAVE to address.


    I gotta laugh at this comment.

    Many schools in the South are substandard. Many are advanced.

    That said, Broward County’s public schools have always been educationally backward compared to some other systems.

    I know somebody my age who went to a Connecticut private school in the 10th Grade several decades ago. They then went to South Broward High and could coast through the 11th and 12th Grade…because all the material had already been covered in their 10th Grade in the private school.

    I also know somebody who sent their child to school in Miami-Dade within the last few years. The child then transferred to one of the so-called better Broward schools and found the work load compared to Miami-Dade was a joke….much easier and elementary.

  16. Peter McIntosh says:

    Common Core is the answer!!!!

  17. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    Of course the children, grandchildren, and greatgrandchildren of Nobel Prize Winners, great writers and educators and wealthy merchant bankers and industrialists are going to be brighter and smarter because of the family and home environment while children of uneducated foreign-speaking laborers and unskilled workers are going nowhere. Look at the origins of the populations of Miami Beach, Coral Gables, Coconut Grove, Parkland, Delray Beach, Boca Raton, Hollywood, Hallandale Beach, various parts of Pompano Beach and Deerfield Beach. The poor does not just refer to amount of money coming in, but the cultural background. Families with books, classical music, are certainly not going to produce thugs and muggers. Broward has always had a lower class of resident than Monroe, Miami-Dade, and Palm Beach Counties. Look at the founder of Ft. Lauderdale – a common drunk! The effective founders of the other cities I have mentioned were well educated, wealthy businessmen not “Indian traders” with a drinking problem. And the other parts of Broward including the tract houses in Fort Lauderdale were developed for people the developers had such low opinions of they MOVED AS FAR AWAY FROM FT LAUDERDALE AND BROWARD COUNTY AS THEY COULD. I mean Schmel Browitz – i.e. Sheppard Broad – built his own city on an island in Biscayne Bay rather than deal with the schmucks on Broward Boulevard!