Lee Charter Academy

The shocking plunge of Lee Charter Academy from the A grade the state gave it for three straight years to an F this year demands answers.

Violent fluctuations in the grades raise questions about whether testing is being administered properly, or whether the testing system itself is reliable - or both.

The Florida Department of Education has been investigating three teachers for at least six months, according to Academy Principal Shirley Chapman. Lee schools Chief Academic Officer Connie Jones confirmed the investigation related to state testing...

If the A grades for three years at Lee Charter Academy were inaccurate, the children tested in those years were as ill-served as those whose scores led to the F...

Lee Charter Academy was one of the district's showpieces for achievement with low-income minority students. The school, off Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in Fort Myers, is one of five in Florida under the management of California-based Edfutures Inc. It plans to open a second school in Lee County, in Lehigh Acres, this fall.

Lee Charter Academy was an F-graded school before the company took over. It went from an F to a D in 2006 and 2007, then to an A grade for three years. Then this year, scores plunged:
- After 61 percent to 65 percent of students met high standards in reading from 2008 to 2010, the number sank to 39 percent in 2011.
- High writing standards, met by 78 percent even back when the academy had an F grade in 2005, and by 100 percent in 2009, dropped to 65 percent in 2011.
- In science, the number dropped from 68 percent last year to 20 percent this year...

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