Tuesday, January 7, 2014, 4:06 PM

A Slightly Different Charter School

Gaveling in the meeting of the Joint Legislative Committee on Education Oversight is the first order of business for 2014. Among those making presentations to the Committee was ALS (Accelerated Learning Solutions).

ALS operates a number of charter schools in Florida that target high school dropouts -- those referred from regular high schools and those who have totally abandoned school. Their experience in FL has been as a partner to traditional public schools by taking referred failing students and working to turn them around and help them achieve, graduate, and join the economy; a full 88% of their students are referred from principals while 12% are kids who have just walked away.

This year ALS is hoping to get a toe hold in NC. I can tell you that from my 8 years working in leadership offices at the General Assembly the issue of how to handle high school dropouts has been wrestled with by every chamber leader. And a fair amount of funding has supported local solutions to local problems. But those have just been nibbles. The ALS model has metrics that are easy to understand and that, so far, tell a compelling story in FL.

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