A New Campaign for Public Charter School Accountability
According to Education Week, the Detroit Free Press and various other media outlets, the National Association of Charter School Authorizers (NACSA) announced Wednesday its “One Million Lives” campaign to enroll 1 million more children into 3,000 high-performing public charter schools over the next five years. At the same time, the group is pressing for state laws that hold charters and their authorizers more accountable. NACSA estimates that as many as one in five charter schools should be shut down for poor academic performance. “For all the excellent charter schools, there are also many not serving students well,” NACSA head Greg Richmond said. Richmond also said that in too many states, charter school accountability exists "in name only." Nina Rees, president and CEO of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, said she supports authorizers' efforts "to get it right.”
Sources: Education Week, Detroit Free Press, Businessweek, Atlanta Journal Constitution, StateImpact, WIBC, KCSG
Back to Top
Race to the Top Finalists Include Seven Portfolio Districts
According to Education Daily, seven of the 61 Race to the Top-District finalists are “portfolio districts” that include both traditional and public charter schools, including New York City, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Boston, Nashville and Hartford, Connecticut. According to Paul Hill, the founder of the Center for Reinventing Public Education (CRPE), “the district in the portfolio model acts as the sponsor of a diverse set of schools…Its only goal is to ensure high and uniform levels of learning for all students." CRPE is currently monitoring the implementation of 27 portfolio districts across the country. Last month, a CRPE report noted: "The growth of district-charter collaboration in many portfolio cities is a vivid example of districts moving into new territory. The ultimate test for all these changes is whether they improve student outcomes."
Source: Education Daily (subscription)
Back to Top
Foundation Invests $25 Million in New Orleans Charters
According to the Advocate, the Laura and John Arnold Foundation announced a $25 million investment Wednesday to help create and expand high-performing charter schools in New Orleans. “The future of our country rests on our ability to educate our kids,” said Caprice Young, vice president of education at the Arnold Foundation. “Everything stems from that.” Previously, the foundation gave $15 million to support education reform in New Orleans, specifically to organizations developing talented local teachers and leaders and engaging parents in school selection. The latest $25 million will be managed through a partnership between the Charter School Growth Fund and New Schools for New Orleans. New Orleans was chosen, Young said, because the city “has continued committed leadership to educational improvement, and there is so much momentum around the vision — we want to be a part of that.”
Back to Top
Los Angeles’ ICEF Charter Schools Back on Track Financially
According to the Daily Breeze, ICEF Public Schools, a network of 14 public charter schools in Los Angeles County that nearly closed two years ago due to financial problems, has reduced its deficit by about 80 percent. Officials credit the turnaround to generous donations by local philanthropists and a new management structure that cedes much decision-making to local campuses. "Gone are the days where I'm sitting in the chair here and thinking about what is best for a school I'm not in," said Parker Hudnut, CEO of ICEF. "Those closest to the action are the best decision makers." ICEF has been lauded nationally for its success at closing the achievement gap for its students, 80 percent of whom are black and 16 percent are Latino. In June 2010, the school had a $20 million deficit, which has now been reduced to $3.7 million.
Source: Daily Breeze
Back to Top
Many Cleveland Charters Pass on Sharing School Levy Funds
According to the Plain Dealer, most of Cleveland’s major public charter school organizations did not apply by Tuesday’s deadline for a share of money from the recently passed school levy, for reasons including wanting to ensure school autonomy and a too-short application period. For the first time in Ohio, about $5.7 million of the tax that Cleveland voters approved earlier this month was set aside to be shared by public charter schools. In return for the money, charters must agree to partner with the district and share financial and academic data, as well as have their student population and state test results count toward the district’s state report card. Those not applying included the Excellent-rated Constellation network and Harmony Science Academies, as well as the I Can network. Seven of the nine Breakthrough charter schools already qualify for the tax money because they are authorized by the district; the other two applied to share the levy money.
Source: Plain Dealer