The Orange Park Performing Arts Academy Charter School has been ordered shut down by the State Board of Education. As an “F” school in a “B” district this needed to happen, but they arguably weren’t far behind some schools in Clay.
OPPA was just 2 points away from a “D” while some of our “C” schools are only a few points above a “D.” Letter grades are to an extent a “points game” where bonus points can be scored or negative points hidden to plump up grades.
A school district has more resources to play the “points game” and aside from academics the letter grades are a result of playing the system.
The consequence is that decisions are made to get high letter grades rather than to benefit students. Some high schools in Florida have been feeding weaker academic students towards AP History rather than the standard History class because lower grades and failures in AP History don’t count as much against the school.
The negative is that sending a weaker student to a harder class for the benefit of a school grade is detrimental to the student. The Florida Constitution requires a free appropriate education for our students.
Accountability is good but the system needs to be reformed. Many things that look good in a boardroom don’t work in the classroom. As for the closing of Orange Park Performing Arts Academy this will be a financial windfall to the Clay School District in that they will retain state education funding, capital property taxes, and perhaps Title 1 funds that otherwise would have gone to the charter school.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Mr. Christensen has filed papers to run for the District 5 seat on the Clay County School Board.