NAPCS Report: Enrollment in Public Charter Schools Rises Nationwide
According to the New York Times, Education Week, Boston Globe and other media outlets, the number of students in public charter schools rose by nearly 13 percent between the school years 2010-2011 and 2011-2012. A National Alliance for Public Charter Schools (NAPCS) report, released Wednesday, showed New Orleans leading the nation in the percentage of students in charters, at 76 percent. In six other districts, including Detroit, Washington, D.C., and St. Louis, more than 30 percent of public school students attend a charter school. Las Vegas, Tampa and Dallas saw some of the biggest growth rates in public charter school enrollment over the past year. For the first time, over 100 districts have at least 10 percent of their students enrolled in charters. NAPCS President Nina Rees said that when districts reach a threshold of 20 percent of students enrolling in charter schools, they tend to start improving their traditional public schools. About 25 districts nationwide have at least 20 percent of students in charters.
Sources: New York Times, Education Week, Boston Globe, Phoenix Business Journal, Huffington Post, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel
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Los Angeles School Board Rejects Voluntary Moratorium on New Charter Schools
According to the Los Angeles Times and the Contra Costa Times, the Los Angeles Unified school board on Tuesday rejected a moratorium on new public charter school applications. Board member Steve Zimmer proposed the voluntary moratorium while the district studied how it monitors its charter schools. Outside the meeting, about 2,000 public charter school parents and leaders rallied in opposition to the moratorium. "The whole spirit of the resolution is off the mark," said Jed Wallace, chief executive of the California Charter Schools Association. "The parents will remain engaged until the school district fully embraces charter schools and allows them to grow and thrive." Parent Katrina George said board members shouldn’t just vote against the resolution, but “do the opposite and open more charters. At the end of the day, this should be about the kids."
Sources: Los Angeles Times, Contra Costa Times
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Alabama Governor Won’t Pursue Charter Schools in 2013
According to the Republic, Alabama Governor Robert Bentley won’t pursue legislation to allow the establishment of public charter schools in the 2013 legislative session. In a speech to the Birmingham Business Alliance Tuesday, Bentley said he's examining other options for families with children in failing schools, such as grants for low-performing schools with improvement plans, and state takeovers of schools that don’t meet improvement goals. Bentley proposed a charter school bill in the 2012 legisltive session, which was opposed by the state teachers’ union.
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D.C. to Close 20 More Schools; Chancellor Seeks to Authorize Charters
According to a Washington Post article and blog, D.C. Public Schools has proposed closing 20 of its under-enrolled and low-performing campuses, about one in six schools in the district. Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson said that in some neighborhoods, the majority of parents have opted for public charter schools, which over 40 percent of D.C. students now attend. “There are neighborhoods where we have not been successful after multiple tries and many years,” she said, “and there is a high-performing charter that has cracked the nut.” Three of the schools slated for closure are being considered for “strategic partnerships” with high-performing public charter schools. Four years ago, DCPS closed 23 other schools; many students from those schools enrolled in charters. Henderson said she will push the city council in early 2013 to grant her authority to approve public charter schools, which could then operate in vacant district school buildings. “We don’t have to compete. We can absolutely collaborate,” she said.
Sources: Washington Post article, Washington Post blog
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After the Hurricane, New Jersey Charter School Gets Creative
According to the New Jersey Herald, New Jersey’s Sussex County Charter School for Technology, facing week-long power outages after Hurricane Sandy, hosted online classes for its 225 middle school students. "Gov. Christie said to get creative," said Administrative Principal Jill Eckel, so the school found "ways to get by in this unfortunate situation." If data indicates substantial participation in the online classes, the days when classes were taught online might be able to be counted as official school days. In any case, Eckel said she received great feedback about the online classes, which were taught through StudyIsland.com and Edmodo.com. "We are a school with a focus on technology so an online educational community seemed to be the perfect solution to our current situation," Eckel said.
Source: New Jersey Herald