Charter School Expansion Top Priority for Mississippi Lawmakers
According to Mississippi Public Broadcasting, charter schools will be on the forefront of the legislative agenda in Mississippi in the upcoming session. A joint House and Senate Education Committee hearing yesterday brought together policy groups who briefed lawmakers about public charter schools in a four-hour session. Lt. Governor Tate Reeves recently organized a trip to a KIPP school in Helena, Arkansas for lawmakers and other officials. A retirement in the House has led to the reshuffling of committee members, which could mean more supporters in the House Education Committee, where a charter school bill failed by a single vote last year. Any new bill will have to address who will authorize and oversee charters, in which school districts they can open, and whether virtual schools will be allowed.
Source: Mississippi Public Broadcasting
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Chicago School Officials Move Forward with Plans to Open More Charter Schools
According to the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Public Schools (CPS) officials are moving ahead with plans to open 13 more public charter schools and close around 100 traditional public schools next year. "We preapproved nine schools and we're going to move forward with that commitment," schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett said. "We also had several schools in the hopper, and we're going to move forward with our commitment there. Once again, we are vetting those programs. We're looking at who the providers are, ensuring that it's about quality."
Sources: Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times
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College Finds ‘Next Generation’ in Urban Public Charter Schools
Inside Higher Ed profiled the efforts of Franklin & Marshall College, led by President Daniel R. Porterfield, to recruit students from public charter school networks such as KIPP, Achievement First and Mastery. Porterfield thinks liberal arts colleges such as his are often a good fit for high-achieving students, who sometimes struggle at larger universities, because they provide more individual attention from faculty, as well as better access to educational resources and alumni networks. The move also reflects Franklin & Marshall’s commitment to seeking out the country’s most talented young students, regardless of their backgrounds. For the last two summers, Franklin & Marshall has held a three-week on-campus program for 60 high school seniors from a variety of urban public charter schools. “Higher education should be informed and knowledgeable about the K-12 education reform movement,” Porterfield said. “And it should not be neutral about supporting what works.”
Source: Inside Higher Ed
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In Indianapolis, Deputy Mayor of Education Calls for More Public Charter Schools
According to WIBC, Indianapolis Deputy Mayor of Education Jason Kloth said there is a need and a demand for more public charter schools in his city. Kloth said there are more than 2,300 children in Indianapolis on charter school waiting lists. According to Kloth, charter schools are driven to perform, because if parents don’t choose those schools, they do not receive per-pupil funding. The Indianapolis City Council will vote Monday on whether to approve the creation of three new charter elementary schools. Four other charter school proposals will be considered by the council's Community Affairs Committee next month.
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Utah State Board Considers Enrollment Accountability for Charter Schools
According to the Salt Lake Tribune, the Utah Charter School Board is considering new rules to make sure approved charter school enrollments do not go unfilled. More than 5,000 “seats” have been approved for existing Utah charter schools but remain unfilled, often because charters lack adequate facilities to meet their enrollment projections. The Utah County Academy of Sciences in Orem, for example, is approved for 500 students, but can only hold 400 in its current building. The state board approves about half the applications each year to open new charter schools, in part because the state’s funding mechanism can accommodate only around new 6,000 charter student seats annually."We’ve got a lot of demand and we need to handle this better," board member Tim Beagley said. One proposal calls for a charter’s enrollment to be decreased if the school has not met 80 percent of projected enrollment for two consecutive years.
Source: Salt Lake Tribune