Charlotte, North Carolina’s District, Charter and Private Schools Look to Collaborate
According to the Charlotte Observer, Heath Morrison, the superintendent of North Carolina’s Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, called a meeting last week of 40 heads of traditional public, public charter, and private schools to explore ways they could work together. The group discussed shared teacher training, the district using its bulk purchasing power to help other schools, and district buses helping charters with transportation. Morrison’s aim is to improve all schools to benefit all of the Charlotte area’s young people. “What we all talked about is how do we look forward, not backward,” he said. Morrison and the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board recently asked state lawmakers to shift chartering authority to local school districts, with appeals to the state possible for rejected applicants. North Carolina Public Charter Schools Association head Eddie Goodall doesn’t support that plan, but said it makes sense for districts and charters to work together. “I don’t want to continue this divide,” he said.
Source: Charlotte Observer
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Charter School Authorizer Makes its Presence Felt in Detroit
According to the Detroit Free Press, Michigan’s Grand Valley State University (GVSU), the state’s fifth-largest university, opened its first charter school in 1995 and now sponsors 50 schools statewide, 25 of them in Detroit. It plans to authorize another eight schools in 2013. Philanthropist Robert Thompson, who once tried to give Detroit’s school district $200 million for charter schools, has made gifts that allow charter school graduates scholarships to GVSU. Cornerstone Charter Health High School opened this year through a partnership between Cornerstone Schools, Detroit Medical Center and GVSU. "Grand Valley is a great partner," said Clark Durant, co-founder of Cornerstone. "They commit real resources in people, ideas and a passion for excellence. This is tough work and it requires real teamwork.” GVSU President Thomas Haas recently showed off the university’s new charter school office, amid growing investment in downtown Detroit. "There are some wonderful things ahead for Detroit and Grand Valley," he said.
Source: Detroit Free Press
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Editorial: Give Buffalo Schools Fresh Start as Charters
A Buffalo News editorial approves of the idea to transform Buffalo’s 44 low-performing schools into public charter schools by September 2013. The idea, put forth by District Parent Coordinating Council leader Sam Radford, is also supported by pastors of several of the city’s largest African-American churches. “Parents are not only frustrated, they are angry,” the News writes. “Their children are being cheated of the educations to which they are entitled by the state constitution, yet the people who have the power to do something about that intolerable circumstance either can’t or won’t.…Wrest those 44 schools away from the district – and the Buffalo Teachers Federation – and let them start fresh with new leadership, new enthusiasm and new prospects for student achievement.” Given the lengthy application process, it may be unlikely that 44 schools can become charters by September. “But what if 20 of them can? Or 10? Or seven? That would be an improvement.”
Source: Buffalo News
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Washington Teachers, Others Head to Tacoma to Learn About Charters
According to the Bellingham Herald, turnout at a public charter school conference held in Tacoma, Washington on Saturday showed the growing interest in charters since voters approved a charter school law in November. Around 150 teachers, school administrators, parents and others from across the state came to the University of Washington Tacoma to learn about charters. Attendees at the conference heard from charter operators from California, Oregon and elsewhere, including Nithya Rajan, director of strategic planning for California’s Green Dot Public Schools, who said her organization is considering expanding to Washington. Keynote speaker Yvonne Chan, founder of Los Angeles’ Vaughn Next Century Learning Center, spoke about her experience launching the first conversion charter school in the nation, in a high-poverty community. Chan said that charter schools are a way for schools to achieve “increased autonomy — to get the handcuffs off teachers and parents.” Washington Charter School Resource Center co-founder Jim Spady said: “Charter schools empower the powerless.”
Source: Bellingham Herald