Editorial: It’s Time to Make Charter Schools Work for Washington State
A Seattle Times editorial urges leaders in Washington state to get started creating high-quality public charter schools. “The key is doing charter schools right, ensuring Washington is among the states with successful, groundbreaking charter schools…We’re building an incubator for educational innovation and achievement. Quality over quantity is the rule of thumb.” The Times encourages Governor-elect Jay Inslee, who opposed Initiative 1240, the House Speaker and the Lt. Governor to carefully appoint members of the statewide charter schools commission. The Times also recommends that Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn drop his possible lawsuit to the new charter school law. “The commission will be under the governor’s office and will be held publicly accountable. Voters have spoken on charters. They now fully expect the governor, the Legislature and other education leaders to get on board.”
Source: Seattle Times
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Opinion: Why D.C. Parents Are Overwhelmingly Choosing Charters
An analysis by Washington Examiner editorial page editor David Freddoso shows that when D.C.’s public charter schools are compared with the district public schools they are actually competing with – those outside the city’s wealthiest ward, where there are no charters -- the difference in performance is dramatic. The proficiency rate among charter students last year was about 34 percent higher in math and 30 percent higher in reading than in the district schools outside of Ward 3. D.C.’s charters are getting these dramatically better results while serving a higher percentage of black students and a greater share of low-income students. “This is why parents in most of D.C. are overwhelmingly choosing charter schools,” Freddoso writes. Not all charters succeed; about 10 of 57 appear to be failing. “But one reason the charter system works, and will continue to improve, is that its independent board can (and does) shut down the worst laggards each year and replace them with new and better charter schools.”
Source: Washington Examiner
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In Milwaukee, 22 Percent of Students Attending Charters
The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel examined Milwaukee’s public charter school enrollment, which has grown 18 percent over the last five years. According to a recent National Alliance for Public Charter Schools (NAPCS) report, 22 percent of Milwaukee’s students were enrolled in charters. Local charter schools, like Carmen High School of Science & Technology, Woodlands School, and Milwaukee College Prep, are expanding. The city’s charter authorizers -- Milwaukee Public Schools, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and the City of Milwaukee – are also receiving proposals from national charter operators. "For us, these schools are adding value to the educational marketplace in Milwaukee," said Cindy Zautcke, a policy analyst at Marquette University's Institute for the Transformation of Learning, who helps the city oversee its charter schools. NAPCS president and CEO Nina Rees said that in districts with a high percentage of charters, one can see the impact on both student achievement and on “the behavior of the school system.” In a related story, the Milwaukee Courier noted that in 110 districts nationwide, at least 10 percent of students attend public charter schools.
Sources: Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Milwaukee Courier
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Connecticut Governor Shows Support for Charters
According to the Stamford Advocate, Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy expressed his strong support for public charter schools in remarks to the ConnCAN education reform organization. Malloy said that charters’ use of a variety of innovative educational models produces choice, competition and more new ideas. "Ultimately we have to make a decision about which models are the ones to replicate," Malloy said. "We cannot compete as a state with the other 49 states, or the rest of the world, when we're willing to throw away, year after year after year, 40 percent of our students in the urban environment. Particularly in a state where the workforce is aging as rapidly as our own. And where we're competing with other states to retain jobs or attract jobs." Connecticut has 31 low-performing school districts, which educate 41 percent of the state's students.
Source: Stamford Advocate
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Texas Education Board Asks Legislature to Raise Charter Cap
According to the San Antonio Express-News, the Texas State Board of Education approved eight new public charter schools on Friday, bringing the total number of open enrollment charters statewide to 209. The board also voted to ask the state Legislature to raise the statewide charter cap from 215 to 225. The eight newly-approved charters include Great Hearts and BASIS, two Arizona-based charter networks courted by the Choose to Succeed initiative, a group aiming to bring six national high- performing charter networks to San Antonio. “I want to see a citywide improvement in achievement that is big and obvious and dramatic,” said Brackenridge Foundation trustee Victoria Rico, who is heading up the effort, which aims to serve 80,000 Bexar County students by 2026. Currently, 26 percent of San Antonio students are enrolled in charter schools, ranking the district seventh in the nation for percentage of students served by charter schools, according to a recent report by the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.
Source: San Antonio Express-News