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Monday, November 26, 2007

Florida Tax Watch and the FLVS

This was a topic that came up on the last day of the Virtual School Symposium.
A Comprehensive Assessment of Florida Virtual School, by Florida TaxWatch (November 2007)
Well, since the release of this report someone posted the following press release that they found in one of the NACOL forums.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
November 5, 2007

CONTACT:
Kim MacQueen
Communications Director
850-222-5052, ext20

FloridaVirtual School Costs Taxpayers Less and Its Students Perform Better

TALLAHASSEE- Florida TaxWatch Research released a new report on the efficacy and efficiency of the FloridaVirtualSchooltoday. "A ComprehensiveAssessment of FloridaVirtualSchool" was undertaken by the Center for Educational Performance and Accountability (CEPA), a Florida TaxWatch Center of Excellence, in order to explore to what degree Florida Virtual School (FLVS) offers an efficient, taxpayer accountable alternative and supplemental system of education.

The study examined student demographics and achievement and cost-effectiveness, finding that during the 2004-05 and 2005-06 school years FLVS students consistently outperformed their counterparts in Florida's traditional middle and high schools on such measures as grades, Advanced Placement scores and FCAT scores. All FLVS teachers are certified, and their pay is tied to student performance, making FLVS the only true performance-based education system in the state. The study also found that FLVS is a bargain for Floridataxpayers. Largely because it has no expenses related to transportation or construction and maintenance of physical facilities, FLVS is able to offer computer-delivered instruction at a lower per-student cost than traditional schools.

"While there is always room for improvement in any organization, through this study, FLVS has proven itself to be a viable and innovative educational endeavor that works," said Dominic M. Calabro, President and CEO of Florida TaxWatch. "It has also shown that it has the capacity to meet the increasing challenge and demand for many more students, which canalso help offset some of the incredible costs of Florida's multibillion-dollar constitutional class size amendment."

The study also found that a significant portion of FloridaVirtualSchool students withdrew from their classes, and outlines a number of factors that may contribute to this high withdrawal rate.

The study was funded by a leading grant from the BellSouth Foundation withadditional funding and data support from UCompass. Florida TaxWatch CEPA Executive Director Betty Coxe served as the reportĀ¹s principal author with assistance from Senior Research Analyst Necadi Aydin, Ph.D. and several others.

# # #

Florida TaxWatch is a statewide, non-profit, non-partisan research institute that over its 28 year history has become widely recognized as the watchdog of citizens' hard-earned tax dollars. Its mission is to provide the citizens of Floridaand public officials with high quality, independent research and education on government revenues, expenditures, taxation, public policies and programs and to increase the productivity and accountability of Florida Government. Its support comes from homeowners and retirees, small and large businesses, philanthropic foundations, and professional associations. On the web at www.FloridaTaxWatch.org.
Now, far be it from me to call into question someone's motives, but... Non-partisan, really?

Anyway, what are your thoughts?

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