• Florida education commissioner suggests charter operator take over Duval's worst-performing schools

    By: Jenna Bourne , Action News Jax

    Updated:

    The Florida education commissioner tore into the Duval County Public Schools’ superintendent during a state Board of Education meeting on Wednesday.

    Commissioner Richard Corcoran told Dr. Diana Greene he wants a charter operator to take over Duval County’s 10 worst-performing schools.

    Greene took over as DCPS superintendent this school year.


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    Board member Michael Olenick was blunt about his concerns.

    “There are kids who will never, never gain what they’ve lost. And in my mind, Duval County sat on their hands for 10 months,” said Olenick.

    The meeting addressed the lack of progress this school year for the 10 worst-performing schools in the district, which are implementing turnaround initiatives.

    Two of the schools -- Northwestern Middle School and Lake Forest Elementary School -- are implementing those initiatives with an external partner. 

    Greene said the district is proposing closing both schools at the end of the next school year, moving the students to higher-performing schools and repurposing both schools as elementary schools.

    “I am making a bold move with Northwestern and Lake Forest,” said Dr. Greene at Wednesday’s meeting.

    “No, you’re closing them. Why are we just closing them? That’s not even good for the community,” Corcoran said.

    “I’m reopening them as an elementary school. You’re righ. They don’t want it closed. So, we have met with that community and we have shared this plan and they are open to this plan,” said Greene.

    Corcoran suggested charter operator IDEA Public Schools take over the turnaround schools.

    “Why don’t you give half of them to IDEA and half of them you keep, and let’s see how it works? Are we afraid of that competition?” said Corcoran.

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    Action News Jax requested an interview with the superintendent about the meeting.

    A DCPS spokesperson said Greene was unavailable and emailed the following statement instead:

    “Duval County Public Schools has been one of the fastest improving large districts in Florida, and we are just a fraction away from being an A district. I have tremendous confidence in our ability to improve our schools and serve our students and families,” said Greene in an emailed statement.

    Twenty-one Duval County Public Schools have school grades of “D” or “F.”

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