JEB BUSH: In Arkansas to promote charter schools next week.

  • JEB BUSH: In Arkansas to promote charter schools next week.

When former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush joins the Arkansas Billionaire Boys Club Tuesday for a rally at the Arkansas capitol to promote their charter school expansion agenda, somebody might ask Bush what he thinks of Stanley Smith.

Smith is a Florida college professor not yet on the Walton family charter school endorsement payroll.

Recently, he published an assessment of the booming charter school movement in Florida.


The average charter school is doing about the same as the non-charter school when no adjustments are made for poverty and minority statuses. When the adjusted scores are considered, the average charter school performs significantly worse than the average non-charter school.

… “Although charter schools may be cheaper for the state to fund, the adjusted scores suggest that Florida is also getting a lower return on these schools,” Smith said. “Is the lower average return on these schools worth the lower cost?”

Earlier studies in Florida showed that charter schools were more likely to post flunking grades than public schools on tests.

The Florida education department, which shills for charter schools, has developed some countering arguments. But giving them even that benefit of the doubt, you have yet another state that proves the larger national story. There are some excellent charter schools. There are some stinkers. On average, these quasi-public schools, often operated for profit and always without significant state oversight or elected school boards, don’t do any better than real public schools.