High-Performing Charter Schools Wooed by Districts
According to StateImpact, districts and states are wooing public charter schools that have proven successful at educating low-income, non-white students. Cincinnati recently successfully recruited the Arizona-based Carpe Diem public charter school, which has also been approached by officials in Florida, Tennessee, Louisiana, Texas and Washington, D.C. Carpe Diem operates both a blended-learning model school and an online-only school. Carpe Diem opened a charter school in Indiana this year, where it plans to open five more schools over the next four years. It is also planning to open additional locations in Arizona. “I didn’t start with the desire to scale up and start making a national presence, but Carpe Diem has been very effective and successful,” said Carpe Diem founder Rick Ogston. “We’re very unique in the kind of blended learning environment that we have here and it has caught national attention. We now have states literally asking us to replicate it in those various other places.”
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Mississippi Lawmakers Brush Up on Charter School Proposal
According to the Sun Herald and PR Newswire, the Mississippi Senate and House Education Committees met jointly on Wednesday to discuss education-related legislation for the 2013 legislative Session, including public charter school legislation. Erika Berry, Advocacy Coordinator for the Mississippi Coalition for Public Charter Schools, said the meeting "provides an opportunity to discuss how to best design legislation that will support the creation of high-quality public charter schools here in Mississippi.” Rachel Canter, executive director of Mississippi First, a member of the charter school coalition, gave a detailed briefing about a proposed charter school bill. The proposal would create an independent authorizing and governing board for charter schools that is separate from the state Board of Education. Students in existing public school attendance zones would have the first opportunity to enroll in a charter school but would not be forced to attend. Charter schools would have to serve special education students.
Sources: Sun Herald, PR Newswire
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Mississippi Coalition for Public Charter Schools Calls for Smart Legislation in 2013
According to PR Newswire, the Mississippi Coalition for Public Charter Schools issued a press release urging Mississippi legislators to pass charter school legislation when they convene in January. The coalition – which includes Mississippi First, the Black Alliance for Educational Options, the Mississippi Center for Public Policy, the Mississippi Association of Realtors, and the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools – would like to see a bill which: allows for traditional public schools converting to public charter schools, start-up public charter schools, and virtual public charter schools; ensures charters serve at-risk students; prohibits private schools from converting to charters; provides charter autonomy; ensures accountability; provides equitable funding; and creates an authorizing environment focused on quality control. Mississippi’s current charter school law allows only for underperforming public schools to convert to charter schools after a parent petition. There are currently no charter schools in Mississippi.
Source: PR Newswire
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Pennsylvania Considers Proposals for Eight New Cyber Charters
According to Education Week’s Charters & Choice blog, the Pennsylvania Department of Education is considering proposals for eight new cyber charter schools, despite some concerns about the cost and quality of online education. Pennsylvania currently is home to 16 cyber charters, eight of which opened within the past two years. Cyber charters in Pennsylvania can enroll students statewide, and are reimbursed by students’ home districts for full per-pupil funding, a point of contention for some school districts. An April 2011 Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) study concluded that Pennsylvania cyber charter school students performed at lower levels than students in non-cyber public charter schools and those in traditional public schools. If all eight charters are approved, they project a total enrollment of 2,750 students in the 2013-14 school year, growing to 9,800 students in 2017-18.
Source: Education Week
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Minneapolis Charters, District Collaborate on School Choice Fair
According to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune , Minneapolis Public Schools and about 30 public charter schools are collaborating for the first time to hold a school choice fair for families. The January 12 fair will take place at the Minneapolis Convention Center, ahead of the school request form deadline of February 19. In past years, the district and charter schools held separate fairs on the same day at different locations. The district now authorizes some charter schools and has a working relationship with others.
Source: Minneapolis Star-Tribune
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Meet Julia King, D.C. Teacher of the Year
The Washington Post profiled Julia King, D.C.’s teacher of the year, who teaches seventh-grade math at D.C. Prep Public Charter School. “She is a passionate and infinitely creative and inspiring teacher,” said Cassie Pergament, principal of D.C. Prep’s Edgewood middle school campus, the highest-ranked charter school in the city, which serves primarily poor and minority children. King said she decided to become a teacher after reading Jonathan Kozol’s “Savage Inequalities” as a college student. “I wanted to be a part of the solution,” she said. After two years as a Teach for America corps member in Gary, Indiana, King chose to work at D.C. Prep because of its focus on both academics and character development. “As teachers and as schools, we have the opportunity to teach students really strong habits that will help them long-term,” King said. She was also attracted to DC Prep, she said, because of its emphasis on collaboration among teachers.
Source: Washington Post