New Hampshire Drops in Charter Law Rankings Due to Moratorium
According to the Union Leader, New Hampshire’s ranking in the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools annual ratings of state charter school laws dropped from number 11 to number 30 this year. "The state had been making incremental but positive gains," said the report authors. "In 2011, a change to state law made the State Board of Education a permanent charter school authorizer. Only a year later, however, the board denied all pending charter school applications, enacting a moratorium on new schools." Two bills have been submitted in the state Legislature this session to end the moratorium.
Source: Union Leader
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South Carolina Improves Ranking to No. 12; Mississippi Ranked Last
According to the Post and Courier, the fact that South Carolina strengthened its public charter schools law last year is reflected in its jump from 25th to 12th place in the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools annual rankings of state charter laws. “The students are the ones who are truly benefiting as we transform the educational landscape in South Carolina,” said Mary Carmichael, executive director of the Public Charter School Alliance of South Carolina, who was among those who pushed for legislative changes. State Superintendent of Education Mick Zais said it’s encouraging to see national groups recognizing the state’s efforts, “But there is more work to be done to improve the climate for public charter schools, specifically in the areas of equity funding, equal access to facilities, and access to transportation for public charter school students,” he said. The Clarion Ledger noted that Mississippi’s charter school law was once again ranked the worst in the nation.
Sources: Post and Courier, Clarion Ledger
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Ohio Governor Proposes State Funding for Charter School Facilities
According to the Toledo Blade, Ohio Governor John Kasich announced an education funding plan Thursday which would for the first time direct state funds to facilities for public charter schools. Charters would receive $100 per pupil for their own building needs. Barbara Matteri-Smith, Kasich’s assistant policy director for education, noted that charter schools cannot pass their own property tax millage to support bonds for their facilities. She also stressed that the new pools of funding for charter schools would not come at the expense of local school districts.
Source: Toledo Blade
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Charters' Path to Success or Failure Set Early, Study Finds
According to Education Week’s Charters & Choice blog, a study released Wednesday by Stanford University’s Center for Research on Education Outcomes found that public charter schools’ early academic performance is a strong predictor of later performance. Ninety-four percent of schools that started in the top quintile of performance remained at that level over time. Those in the lowest quintiles of performance remained low-performers through their fifth year. The study’s authors recommend that authorizers pay close attention to charters’ early performance, and close those that are not improving. The study also found that the “super-networks” KIPP and Uncommon Schools, whose member schools have been replicated in local communities, had a large, significant positive effect on the academic growth of students in both reading and math. "[T]he positive findings for KIPP and Uncommon Schools across their portfolios," the study concludes, "[suggest] that is possible to simultaneously scale quantity and quality in charter schools."
Source: Education Week
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Call for Ban on Co-Locations Has Charter School Backers Nervous in New York City
According to Gotham Schools , three of the candidates for New York City mayor have called for a moratorium on the co-location of public charter schools in district buildings. On Wednesday, two dozen charter school leaders and advocates distributed a statement asking the mayoral candidates “to set aside the call for a moratorium on co-locations and show the kind of thoughtful leadership New York City needs.” More than 100 parents from the Success Academy Charter Schools protested outside the mayoral candidates’ offices. “We’re out here because we want co-location,” said charter school parent Ali Aybakal. Charter school parents, who now number over 100,000, could be a significant voting bloc in the mayoral election. At an event to mark National School Choice Week this week, schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott suggested parents hold a forum for mayoral candidates and give them each a report card based on how much they support charter schools.
Source: Gotham Schools
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Chicago’s Noble Charter Schools Network, and a Bill to Increase State Funding
Medill Reports profiled Chicago’s Noble charter schools network. Last year Noble accounted for nine of the top 10 ACT scores for non-selective Chicago schools. Noble’s student population is 89 percent low-income and 98 percent minority. For the 3,000 spots available for incoming students at Noble’s various campuses, they have received nearly 6,000 applications. The flagship campus has received four times as many applications as there are spots, according to the principal. On Monday, Rep. Daniel J. Burke introduced a bill to increase charter funding from 75 to 97 percent of what traditional public schools receive. He is optimistic that the bill, a previous version of which failed to pass last year, will find the needed 60 votes this time. “The fact is that charter schools are public schools. The dollar amount will travel with the student. Very basic,” said Burke.
Source: Medill Reports
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Georgia Rally Celebrates Public Charter Schools
According to Atlanta Journal-Constitution, around 1,100 public charter school students, parents and school officials rallied at Georgia’s state Capitol on Thursday morning as part of National School Choice Week. “All children need the opportunity to attend a school that best fits their needs,” said charter school parent Renee Lord. “The needs of children are so diverse that having more options allows parents to make more choices.” Matt Arkin, head of the Georgia Cyber Academy, said: “I think we’ve seen with the charter schools amendment’s passage that we’ve laid a great foundation.”
Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution