New Jersey Charter Study May Show 'Maturing' of Public Charter School Movement
According to Education Daily, the findings of a recent study by Stanford University’s Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) may show a maturing of the public charter school movement. The study found that New Jersey charter schools largely outperformed their traditional public school counterparts in reading in math. On average, charter students in New Jersey gained an additional two months of learning in reading and an additional three months in math. In Newark, charter students gained an additional seven and a half months in reading and nine months in math. Thomas B. Fordham Institute fellow Andy Smarick recalled his time as deputy commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Education, saying: "We were careful to allow only the best, most-prepared schools to open. We enabled the very best charters to grow, and we were willing to close those that weren't living up to their responsibilities."
Source: Education Daily (subscription)
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Michigan Bill Would Require Districts to Offer Vacant Buildings to Charters
According to the Livingston Daily, a proposed bill in the Michigan Legislature would require all districts statewide to inform the state Board of Education when classroom buildings are closed or not in use. Districts would be required to maintain vacant buildings and keep them ready for instruction. If a public charter school or other education entity expressed interest in a building, the district would be required to sell or lease it within 63 days of receiving notice from the state. According to the Michigan Association of Public School Academies, the legislation would create a statewide inventory of potential facilities for public charter schools. On its website, the association wrote that it was “very excited to see facility access addressed in legislation that appears to be on the fast track.” A state analysis found around 3,330 closed schools across Michigan that would require varying amounts of investment to be ready for instruction.
Source: Livingston Daily
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NACSA Recommends Stricter Accountability for North Carolina’s Public Charter Schools
According to the Durham Herald-Sun, Alex Medler, a National Association of Charter School Authorizers Vice President, recommended stricter accountability for public charter schools in North Carolina. Currently, schools that don’t attain a 60 percent performance composite or fail to meet expected growth in two out of three consecutive years are deemed “academically inadequate” and can have their charters revoked. “The fact that North Carolina has something is a good thing…but it falls short,” he said. Medler also said North Carolina would benefit from an independent statewide charter schools authorizing board. State governments “can do a good job, but can’t do the performance monitoring very well and have their own politics.” Finally, Medler recommended having enough full-time professional staff – including someone handling finance, a reporting administrator and legal counsel -- to oversee the state’s 107 charters, which are currently monitored by North Carolina’s Office of Charter Schools director Joel Medley and a handful of part-time workers.
Source: Durham Herald-Sun
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D.C. Forecasts Public Charter School Funding Shortfall of $20.5 million
According to the Washington Examiner, D.C. is facing a potential budget shortfall of more than $20 million in its funding for public charter schools. "It's due entirely to enrollment going up higher than projected," said Eric Goulet, Mayor Vincent Gray's budget director. "We projected in the budget an increase in enrollment. Enrollment has actually surprised us and the experts." Education officials projected in October that charter school enrollment had climbed by 11 percent to 35,019 students. The District has budgeted $542 million for charter schools for the current fiscal year. Mayor Gray said of the threatened shortfall: "I don't think it's bad news at all because what it says is public education is growing."
Source: Washington Examiner
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In Nashville, District-Charter Collaboration Will Benefit All Students
In a Tennessean op-ed, Candice McQueen, dean of the College of Education at Lipscomb University, urges Nashville to seize a missed opportunity and learn from the city’s public schools – be they district or charter – which are succeeding with diverse populations of students. “Achieving excellence with all students takes hard work.” McQueen writes. “In what conditions do these schools thrive, and how can that be replicated? What school practices are working with what student populations?...We should examine where progress is being made in any place it occurs, looking for scalable practices, while creating a portfolio of schools in the city that meets the needs of all students.” McQueen and Nashville Public Schools Director Dr. Jesse Register recently brought together a group of high-performing district and charter school leaders for the first of several collaboration meetings to help shape “the future of the city’s education landscape.”