Editorial: In Chicago, Build On Successes of Charter Schools
According to a Chicago Sun-Times editorial, a recent report by the Chicago Teachers’ Union (CTU) ignores “the many pockets of excellence among the charters and the fact that charters are not only public schools but also are 91 percent low-income and 95 percent minority…Going forward, CPS [Chicago Public Schools] should carefully align charter openings with community needs and focus on proven charters as well as supporting neighborhood schools…The CTU correctly points out that charters have fewer students with severe disabilities, fewer bilingual students because they have a slightly lower Latino population than CPS has a whole, higher teacher turnover and a less diverse teaching force…The answer isn’t to rid Chicago of charters but to figure out ways to tackle these problems and to give neighborhood schools the extra support they need to help every child thrive.”
Source: Chicago Sun-Times
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Louisiana Department of Education Votes to Close Four Charters
According to the Times-Picayune, the Louisiana Department of Education has recommended that four public charter schools in New Orleans lose their charters at the end of the 2012-13 academic year. Two other charters were given one more year to improve; ten charters were recommended for renewal, including seven with new 10-year contracts. The state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education will vote on the recommendations Wednesday. Schools losing their charters could be transferred to other operators; five groups running existing schools in New Orleans are slated to be approved this week to take over additional campuses. Last week, Recovery School District Superintendent Patrick Dobard joined the National Association of Charter School Authorizers in announcing a new campaign for charter accountability. "These operators are good folks that have worked very hard," said Caroline Roemer Shirley, executive director of the Louisiana Association of Public Charter Schools, but "we live and die by an accountability system."
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Providence Superintendent Urges District Schools to Become Charters
According to the Brown Daily Herald, Providence, Rhode Island Schools Superintendent Susan Lusi this fall urged all district schools to consider transitioning to charters for the 2013-14 school year. Under this proposal, schools would continue to be monitored by the district for financial and academic performance. Frank D. Spaziano Elementary School was the only school able to make the Dec. 1 coversion decision deadline. Rhode Island Department of Education spokesperson Elliot Krieger said district-governed charters serve as “beacons of excellence” that “transform education in the state.” Three of Providence’s 16 charter schools are currently district-governed. “District-operated charter schools are a relatively new development,” said Brown University Professor of Education Kenneth Wong, adding that the management system appears to be “a promising strategy.” According to Brian Fong, a Brown visiting director and lecturer, if a school is able to maintain a certain degree of autonomy “over the curriculum, the pedagogical methods, the hiring and evaluation process and the budget, then the school can be successful.”
Source: Brown Daily Herald
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In Arizona, Charters Fare Better on Teacher Absenteeism
According to the Tucson Sentinel, a new study on teacher absenteeism found that Arizona’s charter schools had lower rates of teacher absenteeism than traditional public schools. The findings did not surprise Eileen Sigmund, executive director of the Arizona Charter Schools Association, who said that charters often cannot afford substitute teachers. When a teacher is absent, colleagues cover the class, adding to their usual workload. “It disincentivizes our teachers from placing that added work on co-workers,” Sigmund said. Sigmund also said charter school teachers do not get time off for professional development, since such training is typically scheduled on vacation days or when school is over for the day. Overall, Arizona’s teacher absenteeism rate was lower than other states, likely due in part to the high number of charters in the state -- 535 -- serving an estimated 144,802 students.
Source: Tucson Sentinel