D.C. Task Force Recommends against Neighborhood Preference in Charter Admissions
In a Greater Greater Washington column, Ken Archer objects to a D.C. task force’s recommendation against using neighborhood preferences for public charter school admissions. “What is becoming increasingly clear is that, while D.C. is a leader in charters as a share of the education market, other cities are leading D.C. in figuring out how to organize charters and non-charters into a single public school system.” New York, New Orleans and Denver all mandate neighborhood preference in charter admissions; Chicago makes it optional. The task force recommended a common lottery across public charter and traditional public schools, which would allow parents to indicate neighborhood preference. The task force concluded that mandating neighborhood preference would not increase the number of quality seats in the city but simply ration them, with the impact greatest on students in the poorest parts of the city, many of whom attend charters outside their neighborhoods.
Source: Greater Greater Washington
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Florida’s Public Charter Schools Offer Diversity of Options
RedefinEd profiled the Just For Girls Academy in Bradenton, Florida, which emphasizes character development and uses horse therapy to help teach compassion, consideration and courage. “We have a culture of caring here,’’ said Principal Jennifer Rosenboom. Florida’s 574 public charter schools serve around 200,000 students. Many charters have a particular focus, such as Creek-language programs at a charter school on the Seminole Indian Reservation; a STEM school in Orlando affiliated with the University of Central Florida; and the musician-founded Miami Arts Charter School. “Parents are demanding more high-quality public options,’’ said Eric Paisner, the vice president of knowledge and partnerships at the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. “And parents are latching on, particularly parents that wouldn’t have had choices otherwise.’’
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Hawaii Legislative Committees to Hold Charter School Hearings
According to The Garden Island, the Hawaii House and Senate Education committees will hold a briefing Tuesday on the progress implementing a measure which established lines of authority and accountability in the state's public charter school system. Senate Education Committee Chair Jill Tokuda said the Legislature changed charter school laws last session with the goal of increasing student success. According to Tokuda, Tuesday's hearing will provide an opportunity to gauge progress and to see what additional changes, if any, are needed.
Source: The Garden Island
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Public Charter Schools Emphasized in Nashville Chamber of Commerce Report
According to Nashville Public Radio and the Tennessean , Nashville’s Chamber of Commerce issued its annual Education Report Card Monday, calling for more high-quality public charter schools in the city. In its report, the chamber called for Nashville’s school district to seek out charter groups which might be a good match for the district’s students, rather than waiting to be approached. The report also asks the school board to let charters tap into the district infrastructure in areas like transportation and food service. The chamber would also like to see a more stringent accountability system, in which charters which fail to meet state benchmarks for test scores and graduation rates are immediately closed. At the end of a presentation on the report, Nashville Mayor Karl Dean called for more high-quality charters in the district, asked school officials to give charters more support, and called on the district to learn from high-performing charter schools.
Sources: Nashville Public Radio , Tennessean
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Another New York City Charter Looks to Expand to High School
According to Gotham Schools , New York City’s Success Academy Charter Schools is asking its authorizer for permission to expand the school to ninth grade in 2014, the year its first cohort will enter high school. “While we might be able to place our first two [smaller] classes in other high schools, our classes quickly become too big to ensure we can place every child in a high quality program,” said Kerri Lyon, a Success spokeswoman. “Our goal has always been college graduation and we think this will put our students on the right track towards fulfilling that mission.” As the number of city charter middle schools grows, more networks are creating their own high schools, including KIPP, Democracy Prep, Uncommon Schools and Achievement First. If approved, Success would be the largest of the city’s charter school networks to create a K-12 pathway for their students, with more than 2,000 eighth-graders each year.
Source: Gotham Schools
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What Happens When Charter Schools Part Ways with Their Management Companies?
StateImpact profiled a group of Ohio public charter schools that chose to separate from their operator, White Hat Management, in part because the company would not open its financial books to board members. “You would think that tax dollars going for education in a public school, it would be more transparent,” said John Stack, the former director of a school operated by White Hat. Ten school boards sued White Hat in 2010, demanding financial and student records. The case is still pending. Last summer, when the contract with White Hat expired, two boards hired Cambridge Education Group, changed the schools’ names, and moved to new buildings. Several more White Hat operated schools hope to make similar moves once their contracts expire and they find new buildings.
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Study: Indiana Charter Schools Continue to Show Strong Test Score Gains
According to the Indianapolis Star, a study by Stanford University’s Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) found that Indiana’s public charter schools rank fifth-best at raising student test scores, out of 23 states and cities examined so far. The average Indiana charter school student is about a month and a half ahead in reading and math than peers at district schools. “A lot of states don’t fare so well on CREDO, so the fact Indiana has continued to do well is testament to how well charters are doing here,” said Russ Simnick, president of the Indiana Public Charter Schools Association. CREDO director Margaret Raymond said the data showed how a small number of poor-performing charter schools can quickly dampen the overall charter performance. “Loose authorizing from one of the main authorizers allowed a group of low-performing schools into the marketplace,” she said, referring to Ball State University’s approval of several low-performing charters in 2008.
Source: Indianapolis Star
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