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Why good news in education is not deemed newsworthy

• Mike Thomas

This is what you didn’t read in the Florida media:

A new report by the Florida Department of Education shows that students in most every demographic category are doing better in charter schools than traditional public schools.

The analysis was based on more than 3 million FCAT scores and end-of-year algebra exams. Also in the report are numbers showing 74 percent of charter schools earned an A or B in the last grading cycle.

Here is a link to the report:

Given the growth of charter schools and the impact they are having on public education, you’d think a few stories might be in order.

We get all the bad news about charters – the ones that screw up or close down. And that should be reported.

But the vast majority of charters are contributing to the remarkable academic gains made by Florida students, which we see in this report. And that’s not reported.

This gives the public a very lopsided view about charters.

One issue is that media reporting has become more shallow in general because of budget cutbacks.

And by and large, the media is hostile to education reform. Bias rears its head in many ways. And one way is selective reporting. Interestingly enough, Education Week did report on the state study if you want to read its story HERE.

I’m not pro-charter and anti-public school. I am pro-good school.

Our older daughter had her name picked out of a hat to attend the best charter school in Orange County, and we sent her to the neighborhood school instead. Almost three years later, I can say it was a good choice.

But you see it was a choice. And the public school won the competition because it is a great school. That is what reform is all about.

About the author

Mike Thomas @MikeThomasTweet

Mike Thomas serves in the communications department, writing editorials and speeches. Prior to joining the Foundation, Mike worked for more than 30 years as a journalist with Florida Today and the Orlando Sentinel. He has written investigative projects, magazine feature stories, humor pieces, editorials and local columns. He won several state and national awards, and was named a finalist in the American Society of New Editors’ Distinguished Writing Award for Commentary/Column Writing in 2010. As a columnist for the Orlando Sentinel, he wrote extensively about education reform, becoming one of its chief advocates in the Florida media. Mike graduated from the University of Florida with degrees in political science and journalism. His wife is a teacher and he has two children in public schools. Contact Mike at