Tennessee Legislators Consider Giving State More Authority Over Charter Schools Applications
According to the Tennessean, Tennessee House Speaker Beth Harwell confirmed that legislation is in the works to form a statewide public charter school authorizer. Two different versions will likely be drafted: one which would allow charter operators to apply directly to an independent state panel, and another that would continue to let local school boards vet charter applications but give the state ultimate authority over appeals. Harwell said she was considering the pros and cons of each version. “We lost an opportunity here in Nashville; that’s just the bottom line,” she said, referring to the Nashville school board’s repeated rejection of a charter application from Great Heart Academies, despite direction from the state to approve it. “What we are really after is an environment where the applications would truly be determined on the merits and remove as many political considerations as possible,” said Matt Throckmorton, executive director of the Tennessee Charter Schools Association.
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Orleans Parish School Board Requires Charters to Join Unified Enrollment System
According to the Times-Picayune and the Lens, the Orleans Parish School Board (OPSB)– one of two entities that run public schools in New Orleans – made a decision that all the city’s public charter schools must join OneApp unified enrollment system when their charter agreements are approved or renewed. Traditional public schools will begin using OneApp next year. A few charter schools that received 10-year renewals in 2011 will not have to join until the enrollment system until 2021. All new OPSB charters will have to join the system starting in 2014. The OneApp system allows parents to list their preferred schools on a single form. In its first year, OneApp was used with all the state-run Recovery School District schools. "It's about access -- it should be of paramount importance," RSD Superintendent Patrick Dobard said, urging the board to "pass a policy that will bring all of the schools in New Orleans together in a unified enrollment and expulsion process."
Sources: Times-Picayune, Lens
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Indiana's Charter School Students Outpace Peers
According to Education Week’s Charters & Choice blog and Indiana Public Media, a new report from Stanford University's Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) found that Indiana charter school students outperformed their peers in traditional public schools in both math and reading, with the greatest gains in Indianapolis, where charter students were two months ahead in reading and three months ahead in math. The study tracked over 15,000 students at 64 charter schools, pairing them with a control group of traditional public school students, matched by demographic and performance data. Black students performed better in charter schools; special education students performed about the same in charters and traditional public schools. Charter performance dipped slightly in 2011, which researchers attributed to a number of low-performing charter schools authorized by Ball State University. CREDO director Macke Raymond says Ball State has been working with a national charter school organization and she expects Ball State‘s schools to improve.
Sources: Education Week, Indiana Public Media