The April 21 article Charter-school firm audited, focuses on a draft document that was part of a nationwide review of charter schools by the U.S. Department of Education. It was a confidential preliminary draft containing numerous factual errors. The USDOE requested that the draft be kept confidential and safeguarded from unauthorized use.
The article inaccurately implies that we chose not to answer the Herald's question; we simply respected USDOE's request to treat this process with confidence. As a result, Academica has been placed at a disadvantage and is being publicly penalized because of its inability to respond.
The Herald article cites “potential conflicts of interest between the for-profit company Academica and the Mater Academy charter schools.” No such conflicts exist, and we addressed this with the USDOE. For example, the article states that I served on the Mater Academy board until 2004 when, in fact, I had resigned from the board five years earlier in 1999.
The article ran on the same day that House Bill 7083 was being introduced, which if passed, would standardize charter school contracts statewide. The article states that a standard form of charter contract would deprive school districts of “most of their leverage” when dealing with charter schools.
The Herald has chosen a point of view that is, of course, the paper’s privilege. But we would expect to see this within the context of an editorial, and not within what one would expect to be an objective article presenting multiple points of view.
Academica is honored to serve some of the nation's finest charter school organizations. These schools offer high quality educational options for our children while changing the landscape of public access to learning. Today, nine of the high schools served by Academica made US News & World Report's 2014 list of Best High Schools in America — six of which are among the top 25 schools in the entire state of Florida.
It is unfortunate that our service to these wonderful organizations is being painted in a negative light for the sake of influencing legislation.
Fernando Zulueta, president, Academica, Miami