The Demographic Power Behind Effective Charter Schools
In the National Journal, Eric Jaffe examined economist Josh Angrist’s research on public charter schools, which concluded that in Massachusetts, certain urban public charter schools significantly raise student achievement. In 2009, Angrist and colleagues found that certain Boston charter schools had produced an average gain of roughly 15 percentile points for middle-school students on the state math exams. Angrist has not found the same achievement gains for non-urban charters. According to Jaffe, “Angrist's work continues to inform the public discussion on charter school expansion. Many states have laws capping the number of charter schools; in 2010, thanks in part to new research, Massachusetts passed a law that relaxed its caps for ‘proven providers.’ As Angrist and colleagues argue in their upcoming paper, policies that favor schools with ‘documented effectiveness’ could go a long way toward reducing achievement gaps.”
Source: National Journal
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Report Examines Challenges Facing Charters on Military Bases
According to Education Week’s Charters & Choice blog, a Government Accountability Office report examined the challenges facing eight public charter schools operating on U.S. military bases. Six of the schools opened after a 2008 Department of Defense report recommended parents be given the right to form charter schools on military bases. Charters on military bases, like civilian charter schools, face difficulty finding facilities and start-up funds, but differ in that they serve a highly mobile student population. At most of the charters examined, a majority of students are connected to the military, but open-enrollment laws in many states require charters to serve students from anywhere in the state, and to enroll students via a lottery. Three of the schools examined had specific enrollment mechanisms favoring students from military families. More guidance is needed from both the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Defense around acceptable enrollment practices at charter schools on military bases, the report concluded.
Source: Education Week
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Op-ed: Charter Public Schools Give Detroit Schoolchildren Hope
In a CapCon op-ed, Tom Gantert writes that although Detroit Public Schools students scored the lowest ever measured in the nation a few years ago on a National Assessment of Educational Progress test, “thanks to school choice, there may finally be hope.” According to a recent CREDO study, Detroit school children are learning at a rate of an extra three months in school a year when in public charter schools. "Charter public schools in Detroit give parents an educational option for their children that previously didn't exist,” Gantert writes. Detroit charters enroll 47,000 students, the third highest charter enrollment in the country. Andy Smarick of Bellwether Education Partners believes high-performing public charter schools should be encouraged to expand and replicate, while schools that persistently fail are closed. “This is a continuous improvement cycle that happens year after year to ensure that we continually grow the number of high-performing seats," Smarick wrote.
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Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education President Wants More Charters
According to The News Star, Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education President Chas Roemer believes creating more public charter schools, including chartering both high- and low-performing existing schools, and empowering people at local schools to make their own decisions, will help reform public education in Louisiana. Roemer told the Monroe Rotary Club Thursday that he believes the state Department of Education should be dismantled and restructured to better support the state's schools. "We should set people free and then hold them accountable," said Roemer.
Source: The News Star
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Parent Trigger Bill Passes Georgia House Subcommittee
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution , a Georgia House subcommittee approved a “parent trigger” bill Thursday. The legislation, sponsored by House Majority Whip Edward Lindsey, would allow parents and teachers to petition a local school board to change their traditional public school into a public charter school. Lindsey’s bill, modeled on legislation that has passed in other states, would require a petition signed by a majority of parents or by a majority of the school’s instructional staff. The school board would not have to approve the petition, but it would have to consider it. If 60 percent of parents or faculty signed a petition, the bill would require that the school become a charter school unless two-thirds of the school board’s members rejected that idea. “It’s very important to give parents the voice that this bill gives,” said Lindsey. The full Education Committee will consider the bill next week.
Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution
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Hawaii Public Charter School Commission Names Director
According to Hawaii 24/7, the Hawaii Public Charter School Commission announced the appointment of its new executive director, Tom Hutton. Hutton is a national expert on education law and policy and was a co-founder of a noted Washington, D.C. public charter school, Thurgood Marshall Academy. Hawaii’s new law governing charter schools, Act 130, was enacted in 2012 to create a solid charter school governance structure with clear lines of authority and accountability. “The Commission worked diligently through a rigorous process in selecting the right individual to fill this new executive director position,” Commission Chairwoman Karen Street said. “Tom will bring valuable experience and insights both at a tactical and big picture level to assist all stakeholders in fulfilling the goals of the new law. His passion for excellence in public school education is inspiring.”
Source: Hawaii 24/7