Miami Herald Tardy Again in Covering Vindication of Rise Academy

This morning, two days after Florida City charter school Rise Academy won its appeal in front of the state Board of Education, the Herald ran an article on it.

But instead of calling Rise "controversial" and "troubled," the paper would have been better off simply writing mea culpa.

From the beginning, the Herald has dropped the ball on the story, repeating claims by the Miami-Dade School District ad nauseam. Like the school district, the Herald's articles first focused on the academic record of the school -- until FCAT test scores showed Rise was the most improved school in the county, not some flunkie.

Then the Herald began citing the exact same evaluations that Rise itself has sued the district for not releasing. When Rise was closed in June, school administrators were given a packet of alleged violations, but most of them were boilerplate language pulled from the county's website.

Had New Times not written a lengthy investigation into the real reasons why the school was closed, the Herald might never have followed up with today's article.

As our original article showed, Rise and its administrators weren't perfect by any means, but they did offer poor Florida City students a much better education than anywhere else in town.

"It's bittersweet," said Rise's lawyer, Glen Torcivia, after winning Tuesday's appeal on a 4-3 vote. "It's wonderful that justice prevailed, but it's a shame that it's taken to this point."

But the school isn't likely to reopen any time soon. In fact, the school district is already "exploring its options" for shutting down Rise once more.

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Michael E. Miller was a staff writer at Miami New Times for five years. His work for New Times won many national awards, including back-to-back-to-back Sigma Delta Chi medallions. He now covers local enterprise for the Washington Post.