Mason Classical Academy (MCA), a K-charter school in Naples, FL open since 2014 and free of charge just like a public school, is the top scoring school in Collier County. By all measures Collier County ranks in the top 6 public school districts out of 67 in Florida.
MCA scored first in 3rd grade proficiency with 90% of the class rated proficient. In the rest of Collier’s schools, only 58% were proficient in reading. In addition MCA’sa 3rd graders were in the top 2% in the state. MCA 5th graders were in the top 1% in the State of Florida,
There are 50 public and two charter schools Collier County. MCA’s results were based on recent Florida Standard Assessment tests. Florida’s K-12 assessment system measures students’ achievement of Florida’s education standards, which were developed and implemented to ensure that all students graduate from high school ready for success in college, career, and life.
What was their secret?
The school does not use Common Core national standards, where children memorize whole words in kindergarten before being introduced to phonics in elementary school. According to a June 28, 2017 article in FREEDOMPROJECTMEDIA by Alex Newman, “By then, (elementary school) with the whole-word reflex in place, much of the damage to there brain is done, at least for most kids.”
But despite their success, MCA is being demonized. Mr. Newman writes that: “From the district superintendent and racist kooks on the left-wing fringe to the local establishment propaganda organ known as the Naples Daily News, owned by ‘fake-news’ giant Gannett, it seems like everybody is after MCA. Why would the local establishment target the one school that is at the top of the charts? Well, probably because MCA’s proven success exposes the educational establishment and its true agenda…and shows yet again the national illiteracy crisis is the result of quack pedagogy in government schools.”
Teaching phonics is teaching the relationship between letters and sounds so that the child knows the sounds of letters. According to PBS Parents, “when your kindergartender learns that the letter B has the sound of /b/ and your second grader learns that ‘tion’ sounds like /shun/, they are learning phonics.”
Classical Charters employ proven teaching methods that tend to be successful wherever they are located while American education is falling farther behind the rest of the developed world. In 2012, The Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) ranked the United States 31st in math, 24th in science, and 21st in reading out of 63 participating countries. Despite increased educational spending, US PISA scores have steadily declined. However classical schools have outscored Shanghai, the top-scoring city in PISA rankings in science and reading and just behind Shanghai in math. Classical school’s SAT and ACT rankings are similarly impressive. As an example, Great Hearts Schools average 1839 on SAT and 27 on ACT vs. national average of 1498 on SAT and 20.9 on ACT. Research demonstrates that classical charter school standardized test performance is uniformly high, and the curriculum components of classical charters are proven performers. Great Hearts academic success serves as an example of the foundational curricular approach the School will employ to guide the scholarly pursuit for all students. We believe in the words of Dr. Mortimer Adler: “The best education for the best, is the best education for everyone.”
The Trump Administration’s policy of supporting great school choice for families makes a great deal of sense when one sees just how good the choices are.