Editorial: D.C.’s Odd Resistance to More Charter Schools
According to a Washington Post editorial, only 34 percent of D.C. public-school students are in top-quality schools “so one would think that the city would be clamoring to welcome” Rocketship Education, a high-performing California charter operator which recently applied to open charter schools in some of the city’s most underserved areas. Instead, the city council’s education chair recently suggested a temporary moratorium on new charters and withholding facilities funding. Forty-three percent of D.C.’s students now attend charters; charters boast higher graduation rates than the city’s traditional public schools, and, on average, higher standardized test scores, while educating a greater share of low-income students. According to the Post, “competition from the charter schools helped spur traditional schools to undertake needed reforms…with such hunger for better schools — 15,000 applicants were turned away by D.C. charter schools last year — those willing to tackle the city’s educational challenges should not be discouraged.”
Source: Washington Post
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Bloomberg Reaffirms Support for Charter Schools’ Access to Public Facilities
According to the Wall Street Journal, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg showed support for public charter schools in his final State of the City address on Thursday. Bloomberg, who is in his 12th and final year in office, announced that 26 new public charter schools would open in the city in September. Bloomberg denounced groups seeking to prohibit charter schools from being located within existing public school buildings. "Charter schools are public schools, and their students deserve access to public school facilities," he said.
Sources: Wall Street Journal here, and here
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Op-ed: Raise Accountability and Funding for California’s Charters
In an Orange County Register op-ed, Eric Lerum argues that California should “establish a system in which charter schools must demonstrate high levels of student achievement in order to replicate or expand, and the highest-performing public charter schools are given priority for rapid expansion.” Currently, according to Lerum, California does not ensure that authorizers hold charters accountable for performance. “Ultimately, California's charter accountability framework should help the highest-performing charters replicate, guide the middle-performing schools to excellence, and enable swift closure of the persistently low-performing.” In addition, Lerum argues that “charter schools are public schools, serving the same communities and the same school children as traditional public schools. As such, they should receive the same funding as their traditional public school counterparts.” Currently, California charters receive at least 7 percent less funding than traditional public schools, a funding gap that Gov. Jerry Brown's current budget proposal aims to close.
Source: Orange County Register
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Illinois Bill Would Boost Public Charter School Funding
According to Medill Reports, Illinois state Rep. Daniel Burke introduced a bill to increase per pupil funding for charters. Currently, Illinois charters receive from 75 to 125 percent the level of traditional public schools, a percentage left to districts to decide. Burke’s bill would require districts to provide 97 to 100 percent per pupil funding. “It’s not the district’s money. The money is allocated based on the students,” said Andrew Broy, president of the Illinois Network of Charter Schools. Kate Proto, a spokeswoman for the Chicago International Charter School network, said increased funding would enable charters to pay their teachers higher salaries. “Our primary goal would be for teachers to get more of a competitive salary, said Proto, explaining that there is a gap between charter teacher salaries and those in the traditional school system. “We just want to make sure that we’re celebrating them and giving them what they deserve.”
Source: Medill Reports
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Houston Celebrates Charter Schools
According to KUHF , former U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige praised Houston’s public charter schools at an event held Thursday, saying: “Houston is to school reform as Silicon Valley is to technology.” Almost one in five students in Houston now attends a charter school. Both KIPP and Yes Prep are planning major expansions, with KIPP aiming to double in size in the next 20 years. “We are proud that YES Prep is on track to produce 25 percent of the region’s college graduates by 2020,” said YES Prep Superintendent Jason Bernal. KIPP co-founder Mike Feinberg said Texas state lawmakers should help “weed out” low-performing charter schools. “We’re starting to parse out the good ones and the effective ones from the ineffective ones. If charter cousins are doing a bad job, we are not going to circle the wagons and protect them so they’re able to keep serving more children in a poor way, but we are in favor of weeding.”
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Central Michigan University Charter Schools Ranked Third for Performance
According to Central Michigan Life, Central Michigan University (CMU) was recently ranked Michigan’s third-best authorizer of public charter schools, based on school performance. CMU is the authorizer of 59 public charter schools serving around 30,000, or 25 percent of the state’s charter school students. “We’re looking for groups with a promising vision, a quality educational program, a sound business plan and the ability to implement a program that will provide Michigan students with the excellent education options they deserve,” said Cindy Schumacher, Executive Director of The Governor John Engler Center for Charter Schools at CMU. “While it is important to note that authorizers don’t operate schools, CMU serves as a partner and as a resource, assisting our schools to reach their academic, financial and operational goals.” Schumacher said CMU has plans to authorize five to seven more charter schools.
Source: Central Michigan Life