Public Charter Schools Among Race to the Top Finalists
According to the Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times, about 10 percent of the 61 finalists in the latest round of the U.S. Department of Education’s Race to the Top competition are public charter schools or charter networks, including KIPP DC; Texas’ Harmony Science Academy, IDEA Public Schools and Peak Preparatory; and California’s Green Dot Public Schools. KIPP DC, which operates 10 schools, is seeking $10 million to expand the Capital Teacher Residency, the teacher-training program it runs with another D.C. charter, E.L. Haynes. If KIPP DC wins the federal grant, the program would grow from training 67 teachers this year to 415 teachers over the next four years. About 15 to 25 Race to the Top winners are expected to be announced by the end of December.
Sources: Washington Post article, Washington Post blog, Los Angeles Times
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New Mexico Governor Shows Support for Charters
In his Albuquerque Journal column, New Mexico Coalition for Charter Schools Executive Director Bruce Hegwer thanks Governor Susana Martinez for addressing the coalition’s 12th annual conference. Her speech “pledged her support of charter schools, their funding, and the creation of future quality charter school options for parents.” Martinez also shared the following statistics from the state’s new school grading system: four of the top 10 schools in New Mexico are charter schools and 10 of the 40 schools earning an A were charters. In addition, charter schools closed the achievement gap between the lowest performing students and the highest performing students 20 percent faster than traditional schools. Martinez also challenged charters “to continue to be leaders in education reform and to challenge the status quo.”
Source: Albuquerque Journal
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Feds Say No to Different Rating System for Pennsylvania Charters
According to Education Week and the Associated Press, the U.S. Department of Education has rejected a change to the way that Pennsylvania evaluates charter schools. Pennsylvania released ratings in September that evaluated charters like districts, not individual schools, meaning that a charter school had to meet adequate yearly progress (AYP) for one of three grade spans, rather than in each grade level. In a letter to the Pennsylvania Education Department, U.S. Assistant Education Secretary Deborah Delisle said that in the future charters must be evaluated using the calculation for individual schools. In her letter, she noted that while using the district-level method for charters, 59 percent of charters met AYP in the 2011-12 school year. But using the school-level accountability method meant only 37 percent of charters met AYP. By comparison, half of traditional public schools met AYP.
Sources: Education Week , Associated Press
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Opinion: Mississippi Charter Schools Will Serve as Model for Statewide Reforms
In a Sun Herald opinion piece, Erika Berry, the advocacy coordinator for the Mississippi Coalition for Public Charter Schools, aims to correct the record on the state’s proposed 2013 public charter school legislation, which will prohibit for-profit entities from operating charter schools and require financial transparency. “Understanding Mississippi's history as we do, we have always supported and will always support explicitly prohibiting private schools from converting to charter school status,” Berry writes. “Additionally, the legislation requires that charter schools serve students who are demographically similar to children residing in the district in which the charter would be located…Contrary to popular opinion, Mississippi outspends several other states per-pupil and gets much worse results…Charter schools can provide the type of high-quality educational experiences all children deserve, but which some children are systematically denied...Charter schools will serve as a model for statewide reforms. Many of their best practices can and should be implemented in traditional public schools.”
Source: Sun Herald
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Colleges Agree to Recruit KIPP Alumni
According to the Washington Post, 20 colleges and universities have formed partnerships in the last year with KIPP in an effort to help more low-income students get college degrees. KIPP plans to promote the 20 colleges among its 39,000 students nationwide; the colleges plan to identify and recruit top KIPP students, give them financial help and help them stay on track to graduate. “KIPP is a program we’ve long admired,” said Georgetown University President John J. DeGioia, whose school pledged to recruit up to 12 KIPP alumni. Alexandra Pardo, executive director of the D.C. charter Thurgood Marshall Academy, said the KIPP pacts are “a strategy worth exploring.” KIPP co-founder Mike Feinberg said he hopes other schools will develop similar partnerships. About 230 KIPP alumni currently attend the 20 partner colleges. The partnerships aim to recruit 225 to 275 KIPP alumni to the 20 colleges in the coming year.
Source: Washington Post