Opinion: WSJ Editor on Recent New York Times Editorial
In the Wall Street Journal’s video opinion journal , WSJ assistant features editor David Feith challenged a recent New York Times editorial on public charter schools. “Charter schools are inherently self-correcting,” Feith said, explaining that the periodic review and renewal of charters by authorizers is a “good check on quality.” Feith also disputed the “virtual twin” method used in a recent study by Stanford University’s CREDO, in which actual charter school students are compared to invented counterparts at traditional public schools. According to Feith, that method is far less rigorous than the “gold standard” of comparing students who attend charter schools to those who applied to the same charters but did not win the enrollment lottery to attend.
Source: Wall Street Journal
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Texas Judge Rules Public School Funding Unconstitutional, Except for Charters
According to the Washington Post and Businessweek , a Texas district judge ruled Monday that the system Texas uses to fund public schools violates the state’s constitution by not providing enough money to school districts and failing to distribute it fairly. More than 600 school districts had sued the state in a case that could force the Legislature to overhaul the way it pays for education. The Texas Charter School Association also sued the state, seeking public funding for facilities and an end to the 215-school cap on the number of charter schools. The judge ruled that those complaints did not violate the state constitution. More than 56,000 students are on waiting lists for public charter schools in Texas.
Sources: Washington Post , Businessweek
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South Carolina Earns a High Grade for Advancing Charter Schools
“Charter schools are no longer on the fringe,” a Post and Courier editorial declares. “They deserve the state’s backing.” The editorial calls South Carolina’s Legislature’s growing support for charter schools “commendable,” given that “public education underpins the state’s economy, culture and quality of life.” Last year, the Legislature strengthened its charter school law. This year, the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools ranked that law the 12th best in the country. “The next issue for the Legislature to tackle is providing charter schools with money for their facilities, the cost of which can be daunting to people considering new charter schools. It is impossible to measure the real success of charter schools, and to encourage new charter schools, if they are overwhelmed by high facility costs.” The Post and Courier also recommends that the Legislature meet the statewide charter school district’s request for an additional $12 million to keep up with its growing student population.
Source: Post and Courier
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Montana House Panel Hears Testimony for Charter Schools
According to the Great Falls Tribune , Montana’s House Education Committee heard testimony last week from parents as well as representatives of both the Montana Family Foundation and the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools in support of a bill which would establish public charter schools for the first time in the state. The bill would establish a nine-person charter school commission to oversee the new schools. “If a charter school does not adhere to its performance expectations, it can be closed down,” Lisa Grover of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools told the committee. “We must do everything we can to ensure that our kids are prepared for the future,” U.S. Rep. Steve Daines told a crowd gathered on the Capitol steps last week. “And part of that is recognizing that we can’t take a one-size-fits-all with education.” A bill to establish public charter schools during the previous legislative session passed the House but failed in a Senate committee.
Source: Great Falls Tribune
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New Hampshire Bill Would Increase Charter School Funding
According to WNCT , New Hampshire’s House Education Committee will hold a hearing on Tuesday afternoon on a bill which would increase state funding for public charter schools. State Rep. Ken Weyler is the prime sponsor of a bill to set the funding level at half the statewide average cost per pupil. Public charter schools currently receive $5,450 per student. Under Weyler’s proposal, the schools would get about $1,100 more per pupil based on the statewide average for the last school year. Weyler suggested charter school funding could also be increased if students’ school districts paid charter schools the statewide average cost per pupil, which was over $13,000 last year, minus the $5,450 in state funding that charter schools now get.
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Tennessee School Districts Receive 39 Letters of Intent for New Charter Schools
According to the Tennessean, school districts across Tennessee received 39 letters of intent from charter school groups this year, demonstrating a rapid rise in interest in opening charter schools since restrictions on the types of students who can attend and caps on the number of schools allowed were lifted in 2011. The letters of intent propose schools ranging from a secondary school offering agricultural and advanced academic tracks and the expansion of KIPP Nashville. “The idea is to create a K-12, college prep pathway over in East Nashville,” said KIPP Nashville founder Randy Dowel, who is planning three additional schools. Former Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton has proposed a new Nashville high school targeting incarcerated youth from the county’s juvenile justice system. The California-based charter network Rocketship Education, already authorized by the state’s Achievement School District to open schools in Nashville, has plans to also apply for a K-5 charter school through the Nashville school district.