Florida’s charter-school sector is a real mess
by Carol Burris
Schoolsforsale.com claims to be “the largest school brokers in the United States that you will need to call.” Its owner, Realtor David Mope, is a broker for private schools, online schools and preschools. He will also help you start your own virtual school by providing certified teachers, marketing expertise, and assistance in securing accreditation.
Mope is not a newcomer to the for-profit school world. He was the owner and CEO of Acclaim Academy, a military-style charter chain. Acclaim’s “cadets,” who were predominantly minority students from low-income homes, wore army fatigues and engaged in drills. The schools’ education director, Bill Orris, had previously led a charter school that was shut down after its management company abandoned it.
Warning signs of failure were there from the beginning. The chain aggressively attempted to open new schools in multiple districts before establishing a track record in its two existing schools. Most districts saw red flags, but two did not. In the fall of 2013, two more Acclaim schools were approved, bringing the total schools in the chain to four.