Mavericks High Has Lowest FCAT Reading Score in Palm Beach; Tied for Second-Worst in Broward

Aside from the kids in the Palm Beach County jail, tenth-grade students at Mavericks High in Palm Springs fared worse on the FCAT reading test than any of their peers in the county, according to data released last week by the state Department Education.

Only 7 percent of the 54 students who took the FCAT at Mavericks last fall passed the reading portion of the test. The 16 students who took the test while in jail had a 6 percent passing rate.

Mavericks in Palm Springs opened last August. It's the newest in a chain of charter schools

based in West Palm Beach and managed by the for-profit company Mavericks in Education Florida. Using a computerized curriculum and shortened schooldays, Mavericks aims to help at-risk students who might otherwise drop out of high school.

But three former employees allege that the charter chain is less-than-truthful about its records. In March, a former special-education teacher at Mavericks High in Palm Springs filed a whistle-blower lawsuit alleging school officials inflated enrollment records and fabricated grades. Two other ex-employees have filed similar lawsuits against Mavericks in Homestead.

In Broward, Mavericks' FCAT reading scores were even worse than those in Palm Springs. The Pompano Beach campus saw 7 percent of its 97 tenth-graders pass, while in Fort Lauderdale, just 4 percent of 88 Mavericks students got a passing grade. However, the Mavericks kids are not alone in their illiteracy.

At the Whiddon-Rogers Education Center, a public alternative school in Fort Lauderdale, the passing rate for reading was 4 percent of 98 tenth-graders. At the Hallandale Adult Community Center, another Broward public school, an abysmal 3 percent of 31 students passed.

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